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Income tax department sent emails to 1.72 lakh tax payers to update on the outstanding tax dues

As the Finance Ministry and the Income Tax Department are consistently working towards
providing more ease in availing the tax relief provided by the central government for the
lockdown period, the Income Tax Department sent out 1.72 lakh emails to assesses, which include individuals, startups, and companies who may have outstanding tax demands and tax refunds. The income Tax Department has also asked them to provide an update on the payment.

“CBDT Emails”

The Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) stated that its emails are to seek clarification from those entitles to get a tax refund and also those who have outstanding taxes to pay and that these entities cannot be interpreted harassment. It further stated that these emails provide a faceless communication and are automatically generated under Section 245 of the Income Tax.

Act dealing with refunds of outstanding demands to be paid by the assessee.”In case the
outstanding demand has already been paid by the taxpayer or it’s been stayed by the upper tax authorities, the taxpayers are requested through these emails to provide the status update so that while issuing the refund, these amounts aren’t held back and their refunds are released forthwith,” it said.

“An opportunity is provided by the department to the assessee to either clear the demand or intimate the status of said demand to the I-T department. Invariably, such communication is made by the department by sending an e-mail to the assessee informing it of the quantum of outstanding demand and providing an opportunity to pay the demand or respond with evidence regarding payment of the same if already made, or update the status of any other action on it,” the officials added.

“Ease in providing refunds”

The CBDT further stated that the assessees are required to produce details of their pending demands, paid or stayed by an appellate authority, to ensure that the department can keep the same in their records and not deduct the stated amount from the tax refund.

“Thus, following the prevailing procedure of recuperation of outstanding demand, similar emails have also been sent to 1.72 lakh assessees including start-ups to intimate to the I-T department, the status of the demand outstanding and whether it has been stayed by the competent authority so that appropriate action can be taken for the release of refunds without delay to the start-up,” it added.

“No devious intent”

Several reports have pointed out that such communication initiatives are a request for
seeking an update response from assessees for the respective refunds and must not be
misconstrued as a recovery notice or perceived as an arm-twisting act as the department is duty bounds to perform its role in protecting public money.

“Many refunds are pending for the want of response from the taxpayers and can be issued at the earliest possible once the information is updated,” the CBDT added.

“Fast-tracked refunds to ensure sufficient relief during lockdown”

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has fast-tracked the refund payments to help
taxpayers since 8 April 2020 and has till date issued nearly 14 lakh refunds involving an amount of over Rs 9,000 crore to various taxpayers including individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), proprietors, firms, corporate, start-ups, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the lockdown period to ensure adequate relief and ease during the global pandemic as per the orders given by the Central Government.

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