NEW DELHI : The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body for income tax, is still awaiting replacement for three of its members who superannuated between January and June. Also, the remaining three members are scheduled to retire between this month and September, if extension is not given.
CBDT consists of a Chairman and six members. The present Chairman Sushil Chandra, after getting second extension, has term till May 31, 2019. Among the three present members, BD Vishnoi is scheduled to retire at the end of this month. However, there is buzz that he may get an extension for three months. But, there is no such information about other two serving members, S. Bhattasali and Arbind Modi, where the former will continue in office till August 31 while the latter till September 30.
Tax officials said among three ex-members, Gopal Mukherjee retired in January while Rajendra Kumar’s term came to end in February and that of Ajit Kumar Srivastava in June. Interestingly, the website of the Income Tax Department (www.incometaxindia.gov.in) is still showing Srivastava as member holding charge of Revenue & Tax Payers Services wing while the comprehensive portal for officers of CBDT (www.irsofficersonline.gov.in) does not have his name as present member and his work is now being shown under the charge of Bhattasali. “ACC (the Cabinet Committee on Appointment) is yet to approve the names of successors for the retired members,” a Government official said. The ACC is headed by the Prime Minister and it approves the names based on recommendations given by certain panels. Though, it is believed that some names have been shortlisted, confirmation will be possible only when ACC approves and notifies the same.
The post of member is a selection-based post which means any Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) will not become a Member because of seniority. An application can be made by an official and based on the ‘fit’ criterions, one can be selected as Member. CBDT (Chairman & Member) Recruitment (Amendment) Rules say any Government official can become a member provided he or she has “at least 15 years of experience in administering and running the direct tax administration in the Central Government with at least 10 years of experience in the field formations of CBDT.” Another important condition is that the applicant must have at least one year of service remaining on the date of vacancy.
On July 4, the Finance Ministry issued an advertisement for selection for the post of Members to fill the post likely to fall vacant during current fiscal year. Last date for sending the application is August 3. It means after the due date, selection panel will shortlist names and then after due process ACC will give its approval.
CBDT has many challenging tasks on its hand including drafting of the new Direct Tax Code besides expanding the tax base and achieving direct tax target. The tax department aims to add 1.25 lakh new income tax return filers to expand the tax base. It has a target of collecting ₹11.50 lakh crore through personal income tax, corporate tax and securities transaction tax. Officials feel that vacancies in CBDT may affect these goals.