The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is the apex policymaking body policy of the Income Tax Department, has directed the taxman to withdraw all appeal cases pertaining to certain monetary limits and parameters from various courts by the end of this month. The move by CBDT comes as part of the government's drive to end frivolous litigations. The move assumes significance as the government would present the interim Budget for 2019-20 on February 1.
In a letter to range heads and principal chief commissioners of the Income Tax Department, CBDT Member (Revenue) Neena Kumar has directed them to "conclude" the exercise of identification and closing of such cases by holding "personal meetings with senior officials of registry of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and High Courts so that the appeal withdrawal process is completed quickly".
Ms Kumar further said that "litigation management is one of the prime areas of focus of central government".
She also pointed out that the CBDT had issued a detailed circular on this subject in July last year. As part of this circular, the CBDT had hiked the threshold limit for the department to file appeals in tribunals (ITAT) and courts (High Courts and Supreme Court) in order to bring down litigation between the I-T department and the assessee substantially.
It had then told the department that appeals will not be filed in ITAT if the monetary limit involved in the case is within Rs. 20 lakh. The minimum limit is Rs. 50 lakh for high courts and Rs.1 crore for the apex court.
"It is clarified that an appeal should not be filed merely because the tax effect in a case exceeds the monetary limits prescribed above. Filing of appeal in such cases is to be decided on merits of the case," the CBDT had said.
The member in her latest communication said that as per the data with the CBDT, "substantial scope" of withdrawal of identified appeals exists.
The entire exercise of withdrawal of appeals must conclude by January-end and withdrawal figures should be intimated to the board by January 31, she said.