It's highly possible that we could have some grievance with the income tax authorities over tax paid, refund not received or any other regular grievances.
It was set-up way back in 1996 to help settle disputes for unintended defaulters of income tax as well as for tax evaders in the country.
The institution has settled various disputes in the last several years with bulk of the issues coming in the last few years.
By placing an appeal before the Income Tax Settlement Commission it helps to prevent disputes that are ugly and drag-on for many years.
How the income tax dispute settlement works?
To begin with if you have a problem you take it up directly with your Assessing Officer. In case you are not satisfied you can take it up with the Commissioner Appeals, which later moves to the Income tax Appellate Tribunal. A few years before there was a decision taken that all disputed before the Commission must be completed in one year before the application is made.
The same has now been enhanced to 18 months from the date of application. There is a search and seizure procedure that comes within the ambit of the commission.
The commission has been able to dispose a substantial number of cases in the last few years. For example in the financial year 2010-2011, the commission disposed of as many as 400 cases. Interestingly, the commission was able to earn revenues for the country as the amounts settled were far higher than the amount returned in 2010-11.
Clearly, there is a great significance of Income Tax Settlement Commission. However, the only hitch is the period of 18 months that it takes to settle disputes.