NEW DELHI: Seeking to improve its image as a customer friendly organisation, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has decided to set up a dedicated wing to have a better connect with taxpayers.
The CBEC is celebrating 2015 as the Year of Taxpayer Services in "recognition of the need to have 'customer focus' in our day-to-day functioning".
To meet the objective, the Board has decided to set up a "Directorate of Taxpayer Services" in pursuance of the recommendations of the Tax Administration Reforms Commission (TARC), headed by Parthasarathi Shome, said CBE It has already set up a committee to work out the modalities, including mandate, organisational structure and responsibilities of the new directorate.
CBEC is responsible for collection of indirect taxes -- Customs duty, excise and service tax.
The target for Customs duty and excise collection for the current fiscal is Rs 2.08 lakh crore and Rs 2.29 lakh crore, respectively, while the corresponding figure for service tax stands at Rs 2.09 lakh crore.
The collection of indirect taxes in 2014-15 had surpassed the target of Rs 5.46 lakh crore by Rs 4,000 crore.
TARC, in its first report submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had stressed on 'customer focus' and recommended creation of the Directorate for Taxpayers.
"The customer relations set-up should be responsible for building strong relations based on mutual trust and confidence not only with the existing but also with potential future customers," it said.
The customer relations, the report added, should be responsible for communication, education, customer service, grievance redressal and customer feedback and analysis in a comprehensive manner.
It noted that at present, there is no dedicated focus on taxpayer service in the Indian tax administration – CBEC or Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
"It is not considered an identified function. There is no generally accepted definition of 'taxpayer service'," it stated.
In the context of global best practices, the report said 'taxpayer services' in different tax administrations refer to the manner in which taxpayers are treated -- professionally, with respect and fairness.
The citizen's charter of the CBEC attempts to create a climate for voluntary compliance. It emphasises dissemination of quality information to trade and taxpayers by establishing guidance units at its offices.