A delay in appointing members of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex body of the Income Tax Department, is puzzling the entire revenue service and tax bureaucracy.
The Board has four crucial vacancies, while its chief, P.C. Mody, and member, S.K. Gupta, are serving extended tenures.
Mr. Mody was given a three-month extension, effective March 1, 2021. Apart from being Chairman, he is holding additional charge as Member (Investigation) and Member (Administration), both crucial positions.
The posts of Member, Investigation, Legislation, Income Tax and Revenue and Administration are vacant.
In January, the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) shortlisted names for CBDT members from 10 contenders.
According to sources, after that meeting, the CoS further shortlisted a few names and sent them to the government for approval.
However, there appears to be no progress in the appointment process, and the government appears to be in a wait-and-watch mode.
Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj has been handling the additional charge of the Department of Revenue after the previous Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey retired in February.
“The last appointment in the CBDT was that of S.K. Gupta,” a retired IRS officer told The Hindu.
Mr. Gupta, Member (Tax Payers Services and Systems), is holding additional charge of Legislation and his extended tenure will end in July. In July 2020, Mr. Gupta was given a one-year extension with re-appointment in the Board.
“Hope the government takes the decision in due course so that all conspiracy theories and speculation are put to an end,” a serving IRS official told The Hindu .