Nirmala Sitharaman lists out 3 ‘R’s for Income Tax officials

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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday urged the income tax department to focus on 3 R’s asking them to assess tax returns and process tax refunds even faster. FM Sitharaman further requested tax officials to redress pending grievances of assessees.

“We are going to basics in some ways. I think there are three ‘Rs’ that are going to govern us…,” the minister said at the Finance Minister’s Award 2022 presentation ceremony held by the Income Tax Department at Delhi.

Before listing out the 3 ‘R’, the FM appreciated the department for bringing in the faceless system despite the challenging Covid pandemic times and adapting to changed work pattern smoothly. She also lauded the taxmen for its focus on adoption of technology to collect taxes in a non-discretionary manner.

Sitharaman acknowledged that with use of technology, tax returns are now assessed and refunds are issued quickly but further improvements in this will fetch more goodwill to the department. The minister also told officials to resolve pending grievances.

She further urged the Department to focus on 3 R’s namely:

  • Returns- To process income tax returns quickly and systematically. She said, “Don’t lose time on that because the assessees feel, ‘I am waiting for it why don’t you process my return soon?’”
  • Refunds- More efficient and speedy issue of refunds. FM Sitharaman told the tax officials that they are doing very well, much better than what it was before. There should not be any excuse for holding back refunds, she added.
  • Redressal of Grievances- Special attention be given to expeditious redressal of grievances. “Even today, there are some cases which are pending forever. There may be complications. Why would you not want to redress them in time or let know that this is going to take a lot of time or if it is not is not within your powers or it is not possible to untie all those knots and get relief,” the minister said.

Sitharaman suggested that if grievance redressal was possible, officials should deliver on it and where the issue involved greater participation from others or needed to go to courts, that should be done.

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