Implementation of the Right to Information Act 2005 in Income Tax Department
In order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities, the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI Act 2005) empowers the citizens to have access to information under the control of public authorities.
This website aims to provide all information that the Income Tax Department is required to publish in terms of Section 4 of the RTI Act 2005.
The Income Tax Department functions under supervision and control of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). It has around 60,000 personnel located in more than 500 cities and towns across the country. The field offices are divided into regions, and each region is headed by a Chief Commissioner of Income Tax. Every region is assigned annual performance targets, such as revenue collections, and is provided with necessary expenditure budget to meet with its operating expenses.
The Income Tax Act 1961 lays down the frame work or the basis of charge and the computation of total income of a person. It also stipulates the manner in which it is to be brought to tax, defining in detail the exemptions, deductions, rebates and reliefs. The Act defines Income Tax Authorities, their jurisdiction and powers It also lays down the manner of enforcement of the Act by such authorities through an integrated process of assessments, collection and recovery, appeals and revisions, penalties and prosecutions. The Act is fast changing and dynamic in nature and undergoes amendments annually through the Finance Act.
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 295 of the Income Tax Act 1961 and Rule 15 of Part A, Rule 11 of Part B and Rule 9 of Part C of the Fourth Schedule to the Act, the CBDT has notified Income Tax Rules 1962. These Rules lay down limits, conditions, definitions, explanations, and forms of applications and procedures for the uniform application of the Income Tax Act.
Other direct taxes are also governed through similar arrangements. Various offices of the Income Tax department maintain technical and administrative records as specified from time to time by the CBDT. Circulars are issued from time to time by the CBDT for effective management of assessment and collection of direct taxes.
The Manual of Office Procedure, in three volumes, deals with the administrative aspects, composition and organization of the Income Tax Department. The work allocation and such personnel matters as departmental examinations, confidential reports, vigilance, training and the grievance redressal mechanism. Vol II deals with technical aspects, assessment procedures, widening of tax base, central information branches, refunds, recovery, write off, interest, penalties, prosecution, appeals and revisions. Vol III deals with miscellaneous subjects such as Authority for Advance Ruling, Settlement Commission, search and seizure, internal audit, revenue audit, inspection and important reports.
Internal Audit Manual contains guidelines relating to conduct of internal audit and is relevant in that, it prescribes checks for detecting leakage of revenue. The Manual defines the scheme of auditing and lays down the role and functions of various authorities in this regard. It also prescribes the records/registers to be maintained. Manual of Inspection Guidelines, inter-alia, prescribes the guidelines for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the performance of an officer as well as his staff. Such inspections are carried out by various supervisory authorities of the organization. Write Off of Tax Arrears Manual provides administrative rules relating to the powers of the authorities to write off and scale down arrear tax demands. It covers procedures dealing with the write off of Income tax, Wealth-tax and other direct taxes.
Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements are entered by the Government of India with another country to mitigate the taxation related problems of an entity having income in both the countries. It enables a person to seek credit for the taxes paid in one country in his assessment of taxable income in another country.
A citizen desirous of obtaining any information under the Right to Information Act shall approach the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO) as the case may be, and specify the particulars of the information sought by him or her. Such request will have to be made in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made and will have to be accompanied with the prescribed fees. The CPIO or CAPIO as the case may be shall render all reasonable assistance to reduce the oral request in writing. An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.
In respect of all requests received from the citizens under the RTI Act 2005, the respective CPIO has to provide the information within 30 days of the receipt of the request failing which he is liable to a penalty of maximum upto Rs.25,000/- and possible disciplinary action. There is appellate mechanism under the RTI Act which can be used by citizens if they are not satisfied with response of CPIO. Appellate authorities have also been appointed by the Income Tax department.