A reference by the Prime Minister’s Office or “VIP” can help if an income tax appeal needs to be taken up on a priority basis or out of turn, a finance ministry guideline said.

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The new guidelines of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will replace the 2021 mechanism and set a framework for priority or out-of-turn disposals of pending appeals at the level of Commissioners of the Income Tax (Appeal/Appeal Unit) and Additional/Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeal).

The new guidelines issued on March 7 have listed situations for priority or out-of-turn disposal — these include, ‘‘cases having demand above Rs 1 crore, direction issued by the court, cases where a VIP/PMO reference is received for expeditious disposal, cases where request is made by senior citizens and or super senior citizens or any other case of genuine hardship”.

Narayan Jain, national president of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners, said “the guidelines is a welcome move as this mechanism seeks to solve the grievances of the appellants in an efficient manner”.

“Such a mechanism was overdue, considering the number of appeals currently pending at the level of Commissioners and Additional/Joint Commissioners (Appeals). Hope it will help in reducing the number of pending appeals”, Jain said.

“Interestingly the guidelines also include cases where a VIP/PMO reference is received for expeditious disposal. It needs to be clarified as to who will be considered as VIP,” he said.

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