The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has set up about 60 appellate authorities under joint commissioners (JC) of income tax to speed up the disposal of pending appeals against tax demands.
There were around 5 lakh pending appeals before the authority in the beginning of the current financial year and the reduction in pendency level due to the new measure will be known after March 31, 2024, Nitin Gupta, chairman, CBDT said.
The decision to deploy about 100 JCs to reduce the pendency of appeals at the Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT) level was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the presentation of last year’s Union Budget on February 1, 2023.
“Cases have been segregated from the CIT (Appeals) and given to JC (Appeals). About 60 JCIT (Appeals) are now functional and they have started disposing the appeals”, Gupta said.
The authority is yet to achieve the target of setting up 100 JCs (Appeals) due to shortage of manpower.
“You will agree that the appeals on the direct tax side are technical in nature, and they require understanding, they require some time for the officer to understand the right perspective and then deliver a decision. It is not a mechanical process like what happens in the centralised processing centre (CPC)”, Gupta said.
At CPC, the IT returns are machine read and scrutinised using the software.
The CBDT chairman also pointed out that the authority is trying to speed up the disposal rate of the appeals which are with the CIT (Appeals) also. “We are monitoring it very thoroughly to see that they (CITs) keep on disposing of the numbers which are expected of them. And that is being done. I think initial hiccups in faceless regimes like legal interpretation or lack of systemic things internally or video conferencing, all have been taken care of. So the disposals should pick up from this financial year”, he said.
In her Budget speech last year, the FM had said that the government will also be more selective in taking up cases for scrutiny of returns to reduce the number of appeals in future.