Crippled by an acute shortage of Revenue Service officers in crucial posts during the peak income tax collection season, the government has ordered that they be re-deployed.

The department, which is racing to meet the budgeted target of Rs. 4.30 lakh crore tax collections in this fiscal, has been ordered by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to immediately rejig the officials at Additional and Joint Commissioners rank level to revenue collection duties and ranges concerned.

The Additional and Joint Commissioners are the cutting-edge level ranks of the I-T department which ensure and regulate tax collection and other functions of the department like issuing refunds and carrying out investigations against tax evaders.

“In view of the crippling shortage of Addl/Joint CITs, no Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Director Generals of Income Tax will have any Addl/Jt CITs in his/her headquarters. CCITs (Cadre Controlling) may be directed to immediately withdraw Addl/Joint CITs from the headquarters of CCITs and DGITs and deploy them at places where they are most required. This is necessary to augment revenue collection by optimally utilising our scarce human resources,” an order by CBDT Chairman to all field formations of the I-T department said.

The order specifically mentions that compliance on the order should be ensured by January 21 without fail.

According to the latest data of the Finance Ministry, the department is facing a shortage of 33.51 per cent in the Additional and Joint Commissioners (I-T) ranks as only 833 officers are working against a sanctioned strength of 1253.

This is incidentally the largest shortage of officers in a particular rank in the department.

At the Deputy and Assistant Commissioners level, the I-T department is facing a shortage of 24.26 per cent as only 1591 officers are working against the sanctioned strength of 2098.

The department has collected about Rs. 2.99 lakh crore as direct tax income till December last year.

“The rejig of these posts was essential to meet the current revenue collection kitty. The department has already sent proposals to augment and increase the manpower but the proposal is still to get functional,” a senior I-T officer said.

However, officials in crucial roles of investigations and raising tax demands would not be transferred, the officer added.

“Among the issues that require our earnest attention and remedial action, the foremost is the shortage of manpower across various operational levels,” a recent official letter from the department to the Finance Ministry said.