I-T sleuths to hand over boss's number before raiding

The I-T team will do so even before they begin the raid and the step has been taken to do away with any grievance related to harassment or corruption by I-T officials under the garb of such operations.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is the controlling authority of the Income Tax department, has asked the I-T "survey parties" to carry a sheet having the names, landline and cellphone numbers of their Chief Commissioner, Commissioner, Additional Commissioner and Joint Commissioner in their kit and hand it over to the taxpayer.
The order, issued by CBDT Chairman Sudhir Chandra, said the step has been taken to bring "transparency in survey operations and obviate the possibility of any grievance to the taxpayer."

The order has been issued for 'survey' operations of the department which are carried out under section 133A of the I-T Act under which the I-T department officials can enter a business premise and can inspect account books and financial statements, verify the cash, stock or other valuable articles, record the statement of any individual but cannot make any seizures.

Under such an operation, the I-T department officials do not visit the residential premises of the assessee.

"Such survey operations have been carried out extensively by the department to check tax evasion. In survey operations only business premises are visited by taxmen and they are not empowered to seize any cash or documents.

Hence, a lot of communication happens between the department and taxpayer even after the operation and hence issues of transparency in the probe of such cases have cropped up," a senior I-T officer explained.

"The decision to leave the contacts of top officials including the Chief Commissioner of the department with the taxpayer was taken in this context," the officer said.

The CBDT has asked the I-T raid parties to obtain the signature of the taxpayer on the department copy and submit the same to the Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT) -- who overlooks such operations.

"Inform the taxpayer that in case of any grievance or otherwise, he is free to contact the Chief Commissioner or Commissioner, Additional Commissioner or Joint Commissioner of Income Tax," the order said.

In case of 'search' operations, both residential and business premises of an individual are raided and taxmen seize documents and cash and carry out a lot of documentation which includes exchange of contacts in the process.

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