Similar to Ombudsman for banking services, the income tax department has its own ombudsman. Ombudsman is an official appointed to investigate the complaints of taxpayers against Income Tax department. So, he acts in an independent capacity to resolve the issues raised by the tax payers.
Who can approach Ombudsman?
Any individual who has grounds alleging deficiency in the working of the Income Tax department may file a complaint with Ombudsman.
What type of grievances?
- Delay in issue of refunds including sending envelops without refund vouchers!
- Non-adherence to the principle of ‘First Come First Served’ in sending refunds
- Non acknowledgement of letters or documents sent to the department
- Lack of transparency in identifying cases for scrutiny and non communication of reasons for selecting the case for scrutiny
- Delay in disposal of rectification applications
- Delay in allotment of permanent account number (PAN)
- Non adherence to prescribed working hours by Income Tax officials
- Unwarranted rude behaviour of Income Tax officials with assessees
- Any other matter relating to violation of the administrative instructions and circulars issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes in relation to Income-tax administration. The details are given in The Income Tax Ombudsman Guidelines 2010’
How to file the complaint?
- The complaint shall be duly signed by the complainant and his authorized representative, if any, and shall state clearly the name and address of the complainant, the name of the office and official of the Income-tax Department against whom the complaint is made, the facts giving rise to the complaint supported by documents, if any,relied on by the complainant and the relief sought from the Ombudsman.
- But before making the complaint, one should try to find the solution at department level (similar to banks, where the customer should try to find the solution at bank’s level before going to Ombudsman. Read here to know more about banking ombudsman – Can you complain against your bank for poor quality of service?)
Where to complain?
The offices of Ombudsman are located in select cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bhopal, etc. In Bangalore, the office is located at 4th Floor, Kendra Sadan, Koramangala.
What happens after you complain?
The Ombudsman will forward your complaint to the concerned officer/authority and will try to resolve the issue through mediation. If the department fails to act within a month from the date of submitting the complaint, the ombudsman is empowered to award a token compensation (Rs.1000) for the loss suffered by the complaint and also persuade the authority to perform his duty.
Will it really works?
Yes. It works, provided you have a real problem (doubly check your records before raising a red flag). Especially, many refund cases have got sorted out through this route.
Thought for the day
Every problem has a solution. You may not see it in front of you, but sooner or later, a solution will appear before your eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions -FAQ
Can I complaint for not receiving or delay in receiving Income tax Refund?
If you have not received income tax refund or there is an undue delay in processing your refund claim, you can always approach income tax ombudsman. However, Before you approach the Ombudsman, you should have submitted a written complaint with your income tax officer and marking a copy to income tax authority superior to the jurisdictional assessing officer. If you feel that the complaint has not addressed to your complete satisfaction, or if the officer rejects your complaint, or if no reply is received within 30 days of writing the complaint, only then should the issue be raised to Ombudsman.
I have received an intimation under section 245 of Income tax Act 1961 where in it shows the outstanding demand of Rs. 1,60,694/- pertaining to Assessment year 2009-10. However I have paid all the tax due for the said assessment year. Can I file complaint to income tax ombudsman?
Please check intimation received u/s 245 of income tax whether demand was raised by CPC or uploaded by Jurisdictional AO (Assessing Officer). If it is processed by CPC, request for intimation u/s 143(1) after logging into income tax e-filing portal if you had not received intimation earlier to ascertain demand. Thereafter file rectification can be done online. If CPC fails to process your rectification, you can file complaint to income tax ombudsman. If it is uploaded by jurisdictional AO, write a letter seeking rectification u/s 154 of income tax officer marking a copy to income tax authority superior to the jurisdictional assessing officer with all necessary documents in support of your claim. If assessing officer fails to rectify mistake and delete demand without any valid reason within 30 days filing letter seeking rectification, you can file a complaint to income tax ombudsman.
I had filed my income tax return online for the assessment year 2014-15 on June 2014 claiming refund of Rs. 42500/-. However I have not got refund even after 4 months of filing return. Can I file a complaint to Income tax Ombudsman?
The Return filed online will be processed by Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore. You have to wait CPC to process your return. Income tax department has provided the facility to tax payer to check status of processing income tax return filed online on its e-filing portal. You can check ITR processing status in “My Account” after logging into your account on income tax department efiling portal.
Is there any cost involved in filing complaints with Income Tax Ombudsman?
No. The Income Tax Ombudsman does not charge any fee for resolving assessees’ complaints.
If your return was filed online, before raising complaint you must file a rectification request through online and wait for Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore to process rectification request and thereafter send a letter to CPC asking them to give credit of TDS or advance tax as per rectification request filed online. If CPC fails to process online request, you can raise complaints to Ombudsmen. If your return was physically filed and processed by jurisdictional income tax officer, write a letter seeking rectification of mistake marking a copy to income tax authority superior to the one complained against. If your grievances remain unaddressed even after 30 days raise a complaints to Ombudsmen.
Is there any procedure or standard format for filing the complaint before the income tax Ombudsman?
No. A complainant can file a complaint with the Income Tax Ombudsman simply by writing on a plain paper. Till today no standard format has been prescribed for addressing complaint to the Ombudsman. But one must include the following details while writing the complaint
- Name, address and PAN of complainant.
- Name and designation of the official against whom the complaint is.
- Facts on which the complaint is based along with supporting documents.
- The relief sought from the Ombudsman.
How can I get Income tax Ombudsman office address?
To know your Ombudsman office address you can visit http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Pages/ombudsman/know-your-ombudsman.aspx
Can I raise complaint to Ombudsman without making a written representation to the income tax authority superior to the one complained against?
No complaint to the Ombudsmen shall stand unless you have made a written representation to the income tax authority superior to the one complained against and your grievance remains unaddressed.
Is there any Time Limit for Filing Complaint with Ombudsman?
Yes. The complaint should be filed within one year from the date of unsatisfactory reply received or from the date complaint is rejected by Income Tax Official; or if no reply is received within 30 days of sending the application.