An ill-conceived report named as Fiscal Options and Response to Covid-19 Epidemic (FORCE) put up by a group of officers through the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Association giving suggestions on increasing taxes and releasing the same in media through IRS Association's Twitter handle and website is an irresponsible act of few officers, news agency ANI quoted Finance Ministry sources as saying on Sunday.
Sources further said the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has been directed to seek an explanation from these officers for writing such ill-conceived views publicly without having any authority to do so. The concerned officers will have to explain their misconduct. As reported, the IRS Association in its FORCE report has suggested a 40% tax on the super-rich to tackle the drastic fall in revenue owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The paper titled 'FORCE', dated April 23, has been sent to CBDT Chairman P C Mody and the board members. On Sunday, CBDT said an inquiry is being initiated against the 50 IRS officers. According to the apex body, it had never asked IRS Association or these officers to prepare such a report and no permission was sought by them before making the report public. It also said the "impugned report" does not reflect the official views of CBDT/ Ministry of Finance in any manner.
(1/3)There is some report circulating on social media regarding suggestions by a few IRS officers on tackling Covid-19 situation.— Income Tax India (@IncomeTaxIndia) April 26, 2020
It is unequivocally stated that CBDT never asked IRS Association or these officers to prepare such a report.@nsitharamanoffc @Anurag_Office
CBDT's statement came soon after the sources said the ministry has directed Mody to seek an explanation from the officers for writing such "ill-conceived views" in public without having any authority to do so.
(2/3)No permission was sought by the officers before going public with their personal views & suggestions, which is a violation of extant Conduct Rules. Necessary inquiry is being initiated in this matter.@nsitharamanoffc @Anurag_Office— Income Tax India (@IncomeTaxIndia) April 26, 2020
"It was not even part of their duty to prepare such a report. Therefore, it is prima-facie an act of indiscipline and violation of conduct rules which specifically prohibits officers to go to media with their personal views on official matters without taking prior sanction or the permission of the government. "The concerned officers will have to explain their misconduct," one of the sources said.
However, IRS Association on Sunday tweeted: "The paper FORCE by 50 young IRS officers suggesting policy measures had been forwarded by IRSA to CBDT for consideration. It does not purport to represent the official views of the entire IRS, or the I-T Dept".
Almost 50 young IRS officers submit policy suggestions for reviving India's economy, post COVID 19.#IRS: committed to help build Nation's economic immunity.@PMOIndia @nsitharamanoffc @Anurag_Office @FinMinIndia @IncomeTaxIndia pic.twitter.com/vZVqd9HG5S— IRS Association (@IRSAssociation) April 25, 2020
(With agency inputs)