The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has restricted the coercive and intrusive powers of assessing and tax recovery officers with immediate effect.
In its circular, the board asked the officers to take coercive and intrusive measures only after exhaustion of other means of recovery.
It said recovery surveys be resorted to only in cases where tax assessees are not responding to notices or notices are not being served.
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The board reminded the officers that the survey can only be undertaken by those in the investigation or TDS wing of the income tax department.
It said the recovery be approved by higher officers, depending on the nature of the taxes.
It also directed officers to take prior approval of senior officers such as principal commissioners, commissioners for attachment of movable or immovable property.
Sandeep Sehgal, director at AKM Global, a consulting firm, said,"It is often seen that in the zeal of collecting taxes, the tax officers are quick to resort to such means without looking into other suitable alternatives. The circular clearly instructs them to avoid doing that."
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