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Income tax ombudsman for four metros

New Delhi, Oct. 31: The government tonight decided to set up income-tax ombudsman to tackle the growing complaints and improve the quality of tax administration.

Announcing the cabinet decision, an official spokesperson said the ombudsman, which would be independent of the local tax office, was being set up to resolve complaints “impartially and quickly” to promote a better and fairer income tax administration.

To start with the ombudsman would function in four metros — Chennai, Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi.

The ombudsman would be selected from among those who had held the post of additional secretary or its equivalent in the government.

The ombudsman would have a two-year term or till he/she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, the spokesperson said, adding reappointment would not be permitted.

The ombudsman would suggest measures for the redressal of grievances, and seek explanation from income tax officials on complaints received from individual tax payers.

He would also have the powers to give prima facie findings in writing, as to whether the grievances needed detailed examination.

He would make appropriate legislative proposals, send a monthly report to the revenue secretary, suggesting appropriate action, protect taxpayers’ rights and strive to reduce their burden.

He would bring out an annual report on the basis of grievances handled by him and review the quality of working of the income tax department besides suggesting recommendations for improving tax administration.

In another significant decision, the cabinet has increased the penalty for violation of section 20 of the Forwards Contracts (Regulation) Act 1952.

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