Honesty, like all other virtues, should begin at home. Pointing to incidences of raids against tax officials, the finance ministry has now sent a missive to the tax departments asking them to discharge their duties with “utmost devotion and integrity”.
While making it clear that officials are expected to abide by the official Rules of Conduct and there would be “zero tolerance” for malpractices and corruption, the finance ministry has also urged the two tax departments to take preventive action to ward off further instances of such misconduct.
Significantly, the instructions come at a time when the finance ministry is working to improve compliance by not only initiating tax reforms but is also going after tax evaders as it tries to shore up budgeted targets from revenue collection.
“Incidents of this nature have the potential of eroding the confidence of the taxpaying community and public at large in the department,” revenue secretary Sumit Bose has said in a recent letter to the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Excise and Customs referring to recent cases of raids by the Anti Corruption Bureau of the CBI against tax officials.
It has also framed further guidelines and directed the Vigilance Wings or both the Boards to expeditiously wrap up disciplinary proceedings against charged officers.
Further, senior officials must inspect the work of their subordinates and also hold regular meetings with tax payers, trade associations and chartered accountants to get feedback on their work.