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Ombudsman can help in speedy redressal of indirect tax issues

Complaints related with refunds and rebates of indirect taxes can be resolved within six weeks times.

New Delhi: Complaints related with refunds and rebates of indirect taxes can be resolved within six weeks times, Ombudsman Sumit Dutt Majumder on Wednesday assured tax payers.

Addressing an Assocham conference on service tax, Majumder said that once a complaint is received in the office of the Ombudsman, it is forwarded to the jurisdictional Chief Commissioner with the direction to settle the complaint to the satisfaction of the aggrieved party.

"We give four to six weeks time to the Chief Commissioner to sort out the matter," he said.

It has been observed that the main complaints with an Ombudsman are related to refund of taxes, rebates, implementation of appellate orders, adjudication and delay in registration procedures.

In case of non-compliance, the Ombudsman can pass an award with the direction relating to the obligation of the officer concerned for issuance of apology to the complainant, and even a token compensation amount for the loss suffered.

Majumder further said there was lack of awareness among the taxpayers about the institution of Ombudsman and that industry as well as general public were hesitant in filing complaints.

"Some complainants have asked me whether I can act on the basis of their verbal complaints. Their apprehension is that they may face trouble in their future interactions with the field officers if they lodge a written complaint. This apprehension needs to be allayed," he said.

The institution of the Indirect Tax Ombudsman was set up in 2011 to look into matters related to Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax. The objective was to address the grievances of taxpayers and facilitate settlement of their complaints.