Below is a very good post explaining all steps to file RTI for IT refund not given in time. It has details to find information on finding the CPIO to who to address the RTI application etc. Also details on how to file first appeal and subsequent follow up in case of denial of information.
Update on 09-Apr-2014: Realizing that this is one of the top visited posts out of all RTI related posts — even though it contains only an intro and forwarding link — it seems that income tax refund is a major issue faced by many. So I have decided to give more details on how exactly I myself have used RTI to receive income tax refunds.
Initially for several of my RTIs I had to file first appeal before IT dept woke up and sent me the refunds; and for one of them it went to CIC in second appeal too. One of my latest RTIs was stonewalled citing finer points of RTI Act by IT dept, but ultimately they did the work which was my main need. So I wholeheartedly support use of RTI to get IT dept working on your pending income tax refunds. Sending refunds is part of their job anyway.
Results of RTI: With help of RTI I have got the IT refund amounts for several different years including for a 10 years old pending since AY 02-03, which even my chartered accountant earlier had said that I won’t be able to get! So what better proof than this that using RTI can be more effective than hiring expensive CAs.
The first step I did was to send a letter via speed post asking for status of refunds of various years (3 different years at the time). Well actually I wrote it on paper and delivered by hand at their offices since I happened to visit them; but as a general recommendation always use speed post for such things, visiting government offices to plead with them is usually a waste of time. The only advantage I can see in visiting personally is if you don’t know the ward number to which to address the letter to. Or the fact that a hand delivery of application will get you an instant acknowledgment with their stamp on a copy of application, but I have seen that acknowledgment to be of no value whatsoever! Hence I trust only RTI.
This initial letter can be drafted as below (replace the addressee by IT officer of your own ward, city etc; replace by your PAN, ward number, refund amounts etc; I won’t be liable for your copy-paste mistakes 🙂 ):
Step 1: Draft the letter as per format below to your Income tax (IT) officer. Don’t worry, in due course of time you will come to know your IT officer and he/she may not be the feared creature made out to be.
Income Tax Officer, Ward 7(1), Your full name,
Kendriya Sadan, 4th Floor, B& C Wing, Your full address.
17th Main, Koramangala, Bangalore-560034. Date
Sub: Refund not recieved for years AY03, AY05, AY06 (PAN no: ABCD999X)
I have not received some of the income tax refunds due to me, as per details below:
AY Return filed on Ward Refund due as per filed return
02-03 <put date> 7(1) xx,000
04-05 <put date> 7(1) xx,000
05-06 <put date> 7(1) xx,000
Kindly check your records and refund me the due amounts to my address mentioned above.
<full name here>
Step 2: Now sign the above letter, take a copy using camera, phone, photocopy for your own record. It should be legible enough so that it can be printed again. Send it by speed post.
Step 3: Now put a reminder of 20-30 days in your computer or phone about doing a follow up by filing RTI. Otherwise most people will otherwise forget about it till about 3 months pass, and by that time you may have forgotten where the copy was kept, the computer which stored the copy may have crashed, and so on! So you may need to start the whole process all over again.
Step 4: File the RTI asking for status of your letter/application asking for IT refunds. The only difference now is that instead of filing a single RTI application for multiple years’ refunds, file separate RTIs for each year’s refund. Now this might be a point of debate among RTI experts, but common sense suggests that it is easier to track the individual year’s RTI both by yourself and by the IT dept. As and when an income tax refund is received, you can strike off that particular RTI as mission accomplished and continue tracking the remaining ones.
The format of the RTI can be as follows (make changes to suit your case and as per the letter you had sent earlier to Income Tax department):
Income Tax Refund RTI format
Application for obtaining information under the Right to Information Act, 2005
To: Public Information Officer, Your name,
Income Tax Officer, Ward 7(1), Address,
Kendriya Sadan, 4th Floor, B& C Wing, Mobile (optional)
17th Main, Koramangala, Email (optional)
Subject: Regarding status of enclosed application about IT refund (PAN: ABCDE999X)
The enclosed application was filed in your mentioned office on 4th Aug 2008 regarding Income tax refunds for three years as mentioned in application details. I have not received refunds for any of the years yet. Kindly let me know the following information:
- The dates on which the enclosed application has been processed, and by which officer.
- The status of mentioned IT refund for AY 05-06
- By which date the above IT refunds will be processed, and refund amount sent to the applicant.
Also enclosed is IPO no. of Rs 10 as fees for the RTI application.
Kindly provide the above information at the earliest to my address given above.
Place: <Put signature here>
Enclose the copy of letter you had sent earlier with the RTI application. Note that the original letter asked for 3 years’ IT refunds, but this particular RTI is for refund of AY 05-06 only since we want to track each year’s refund separately. So for the other years you need to make separate RTIs in same format as above.
Also an RTI can be formatted in multiple ways so you need not worry about the RIGHT FORMAT of RTI. Any format will do as long as it has the following points mentioned:
1. Right PIO and address.
2. The information asked for of course.
3. Your full name and address. RTI reply will be sent to the same address.
5. Optional: mention information about IPO enclosed. On the IPO mention in PAY TO as PIO, IT Officer, Ward 7(1)… whatever is your full PIO address being the same in your RTI application.
6. Optional: Mobile number or email. Though RTI has to be replied in writing only, a quicker mode of communication may be helpful if the PIO wants to inquire about the RTI. Sometimes (or maybe always) the IT officer is keener on meeting face to face to understand and solve your problem first, and THEN they may want to reply to the RTI so that they are sure that the problem is already solved and the RTI reply will then put a final end to the whole process without further paperwork being required.
Step 5: Now sign the above RTI application, take a copy using camera, phone, photocopy for your own record. It should be legible enough so that it can be printed again. Send it by speed post.
Step 6: Put a reminder of 30+5 days so that if you don’t receive a reply within 30 days, you are ready to file a first appeal. I am giving format of first appeal also below. It does not need an IPO to be sent alongwith so is in fact simpler.
Income Tax Refund first appeal format
First Appeal under Sec 19(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
The First Appellate Authority under RTI,
Addl. / Jt. Commissioner of Income-tax, Range-7,
Kendriya Sadan, 4th Floor, B& C Wing,
17th Main, Koramangala, Bangalore-560034.
Full name of the appellant: < Your name>
Postal Address: <Your address>
1. Details of CPIO appealed against:
Public Information Officer,
Income Tax Officer, Ward 7(1),
Kendriya Sadan, 4th Floor, B& C Wing,
17th Main, Koramangala, Bangalore-560034.
2. Date of RTI application and date of reply received: Appellant had filed an RTI application to above PIO dated 11th Feb 2010 with IPO no 83E 915914 regarding status of application about and status of IT refund for AY 05-06. No reply to date has been received. Appellant’s PAN no: ABCDE999X.
3. Grounds of appeal: No reply received even after 30 days.
4. Relief claimed by appellant: Kindly supply the information requested in original RTI application.
5. Method of supply of information: Speed/registered post.
The appellant would like to be present during the first appeal hearing if required.
Date: <Your signature>
Place: Signature of the appellant
About the point above of being present for first appeal hearing, it is your choice and you can omit that point if you can not or don’t want to go to the IT office. If any IT official calls you and insists on meeting you, you can take a call if you feel that they sound genuine to fix your problem. RTI is just an extremely useful tool, so we don’t need to become fixated on the protocols if we know the problem is nearing an end.
Finally, filing RTI and first appeal don’t seem that much effort, especially when you receive the refund sitting at home after the process is set in motion. It is much less effort than alternatives of visiting the IT office and imploring the officials to do their job. Hopefully one day the law of Sakaal and citizen rights to services in time bound manner will be operational, till then RTI will remain as an important tool.
Just do it!