India acts against high pitched tax assessments by assessing officers

10 November 2015

Pursuant to the solemn promise made by the government that a mechanism would be set up to ensure that Assessing Officers are accountable for the unreasonable additions that they make in the assessment order, the CBDT has issued Instruction No. 17/2015 dated 09.11.2015 in which it has admitted that the tendency of the AOs to frame high-pitched and unreasonable assessment orders reflects harassment of taxpayers and leads to generation of unproductive work for the Department.

The CBDT has consequently set up a committee of high-ranking officials which will examine whether there is a prima-facie case of high-pitched assessment, non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind , gross negligence or lack of involvement of assessing officer. The Committee would ascertain whether the addition made in assessment order are not backed by any sound reason or logic, the provisions of law have grossly been misinterpreted or obvious and well established facts on records have out rightly been ignored. The Committee would also take into consideration whether the principles of natural justice have been followed by the assessing officer. If it is established that unreasonable and high-pitched additions have been made by the assessing officer, a report would be sent to the Pr. CCIT by the Local Committee who will then take suitable administrative action against the Assessing Officer. Further, the departmental position as determined by the Local Committee in such cases would be appropriately presented before the Appellate Authorities so that litigation is curtailed.