Taxpayers Charter to be given Statutory Recognition and to empower citizens

The Finance Minister in her Budget presentation on Saturday, proposed to enshrine in the statutes a ‘taxpayer charter”. This Charter would enumerate the taxpayers rights and it’s objective would be to enhance the efficiency and delivery system of the Income Tax Department. Thus, the provisions of the Income Tax Act would be amended and the CBDT would adopt the taxpayers charter.

Accordingly, the CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody in his interview to the Press Trust of India has stated that the Taxpayers Charter will have a statutory status and will ‘empower’ the citizens by ensuring time – bound services by the Income Tax Department.

Earlier, he had stated that such services were merely a part of an administrative mechanism by way of an existing citizen’s charter. However, since it is now been given a statutory recognition, once it is in the statute, it becomes enforceable. Previously, it was only expected to be enforced but now it is binding. And to that extent it is the empowerment of the taxpayer.

Mody in an interview to the Press Trust of India has stated that “The underlining theme with which we have been working till now is that we trust the taxpayers and from purely an enforcement agency, we are shifting our focus to being a service – oriented department. We are trying to promote voluntary compliance and in the process we are also trying to put some discipline on us that we are willing to provide you these services within a given time – frame and with certain benchmarks and it would be taxpayers right to expect these services”, he said.

Talking about the Citizens Charter, he further went on to say that it will be a great empowerment and great service to the taxpayer and incidentally India would be only the third or fourth country to have it after US, Canada and Australia.