Haven’t got your income tax (I-T) refunds? Here is the reason - the department has not processed close to 20 lakh returns filed by taxpayers in Mumbai.
The issue was taken up by Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, P. P. Srivastava, who recently took charge, during a meeting with senior officials on Thursday.
Srivastava came down heavily asking reasons why the returns were not processed.
A note containing the issues which Srivastava wanted to discuss in the meeting and which was circulated to all senior officials, mentioned that as on April 1, almost 20 lakh returns were pending. Of this, in the first quarter of 2010-2011, which is April to June, only 37,000 returns were processed. “Compare this with almost 12 lakh returns we could process in the preceding quarter (January to March of last financial year 2009-2010),” the note, a copy of which is with HT, said.
Srivastava asked his officials that if so many returns could be processed from January to March, what prevents them from doing it now. “I am not asking you to do something new, I am merely asking that what you do in January, February and March, do it now,” he said.
Out of the 20 lakh returns pending to be processed, 7 lakh are those filed manually while the rest were filed online. Of the 7 lakh manually filed returns, 2 lakh have refund claims.
Srivastava told officials that processing of the returns having refund claims should be the top most priority. He stated that additional manpower has been provided to commissioners in whose charge the pendency on processing returns is more than one lakh.
I-T officials said Srivastava was serious on this issue as he was getting 40 to 50 complaints every day from taxpayers on pending refunds. Processing of returns is the first step for issuing refunds to taxpayers, if any.
A senior I-T official who was part of the meeting said that if a return is not processed, it is not possible to issue refunds if any claims are made in them.
He added that Srivastava indirectly said that officials wake up only when the deadline comes close. “Because of this many officials only take up selective cases as it is not possible to process all the returns at the last moment,” the official said.
The pending returns were filed in July and October last year. Officials are supposed to process the returns within three to four months of their filing.
Srivastava was not available for comment.