To resolve Income Tax related tax issues of the taxpayers, the Government has created office of Income-Tax Ombudsman. The officer designated as Ombudsman hold independent jurisdiction and work as autonomous authority.
The Government has so far set up twelve offices of Ombudsmen. They are stationed in Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Kochi.
The jurisdiction of the ombudsman is highly restricted; however, they can help the taxpayers in resolving issues such as
(i) Income Tax Refunds matters.
(ii) Refusal to acknowledge letters / communications sent to the department.
(iii) Erroneous demand matters / assets attachments causing harassment to assessee.
(iv) Scrutiny selection procedures and failure to communicate reasons thereof.
(v) Cases related to interest waiver, rectification applications, appeal effects etc.
(vi) Release of books of accounts and asset after the completion of the proceedings.
(vii) Issues relating to refusal to allot Permanent Account Number.
(viii) Tax credits and adjustment relating to TDS.
(ix) Conduct of proceedings beyond working hours at the IT offices.
(x) Impolite behavior of the officials.
(xi) Matters concerning circulars of Central Board of Direct taxes about the Income Tax administration.
However, the ombudsman will not interfere in the proceedings if the issue requested to be settled is already under an appeal, revision, reference or writ.
Application to Ombudsman The Ombudsman reconciles disputes / issues between the department and assessee. The decision of Ombudsman is referred as Award'. The application to resolve an issue can be filed by the aggrieved assessee himself or through his representative. The application should be signed by the taxpayer or his legal representative bearing the name, address and permanent account number of the complainant. The application should also state the details of the official against whom the complaint is filed. The reasons for the application of complaint should also be mentioned therein. The necessary documentary evidence can also be submitted along with the application. The application must contain the details about the date on which the assessee first complained to the income-tax authorities and its result. The application can be filed through personal submission / post / E-Mail. E-Mail complaints can be signed at the time of proceedings in the office of Ombudsman.
As a prerequisite, the applicant must first prefer compliant to higher authorities of the official being complained. The assessee must wait for at least 30 days for the action of the superiors before approaching the office of Ombudsman. Assessee should also restrain from filing compliant which is frivolous or vexatious.
The complaint should be filed within one year from the date of the reply of the department to his representation. If no reply is received, it should be filed within thirteen months from the date of representation to the Income Tax Authority.
On receipt of the complaint, the Ombudsman will send a copy of the same to the concerned officials and try to reconcile the issues through mutual understanding of both the parties. If amicable settlement is not working then, Ombudsman can pass a decision called Award. The award should be in line with the documents available on record and the tax laws. The Ombudsman can also instruct the concerned officials to release payments and also to apologize to the taxpayer. Ombudsman can also award monetary compensation upto Rs. 1,000.00. The Income-Tax authorities are given one month's time for the implementation of the award.
The compensation amount which is subject to a maximum of Rs. 1,000.00 is paid by the Income tax department out of the budget allotted.
The decision pronounced by the Ombudsman should be accepted by the I-T department. However, to comply the order, complainant must send his acceptance to the order within 15 days of the receipt of the award letter. Otherwise, the award shall lapse and be of no effect.
The ombudsman keeps record of various taxpayer problems. The information is periodically submitted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Finance Ministry. Ombudsman also reports to the CBDT about the officials found to have defaulted in their regular duties.
Details of Ombudsman offices
1. Delhi: 011, Room No 251, Central Revenue Building, I.P. Estate, New Delhi-110002, E-Mail: delhi-
2. Kanpur: 0512 (U.P&Uttarakhand), 110/25-26, 80 Feet Rd., Kanpur, E-Mail: kanpur-
3. Kolkata: 033, Aayakar Bhawan, P-7, Chowringhee Square,Kolkata-700069, E-Mail: kolkata-
4. Mumbai: 022., 115, Mittal Tower, B-Wing Nariman Point, Mumbai-400021, E-Mail: mumbai-
5. Kochi: 0484, Income Tax Ombudsman, 7th Floor, Kera Bhavan, SRV H.S. Rd., Cochin-682011, E-Mail: kochi-
6. Hyderabad: 040, Room No. 819, Aayakar Bhawan, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad-4, E-Mail: hyd-
7. Chennai: 044, Income Tax Ombudsman, R.No. 317/319,3rd Floor, Aayakar Bhawan, 121, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai-34, E-Mail: chennai-
8. Bangalore: 080, 4th Floor, A' Wing,Kenderiya Sadan,Koramangala, Bangalore-34, E-Mail: bnglr-
9. Ahmedabad: 079, Room No. 104, 1st Floor, Nature View Bldg.,Ashram Road, Ahmedabad-380009, E-Mail: ahmd-
10. Pune: 020, Aayakar Bhawan, 12, Sadhu Vaswani Road, Pune 411 001, E-Mail: pune-
11. Chandigarh: 0172, C.R. Building, 3rd Floor,Sector 17E, Chandigarh, E-Mail: chd-
12. Bhopal: 0755, E-7/511, Income Tax Guest House, Areara Colony, Bhopal-16, E-Mail: bhopal-
The Author, CA A. K. Jain, can be contacted at, 21, Skipper House, 9, Pusa Road, New Delhi 110005, Mobile No. 98-100-46108, E-Mail: