F.No.M&TP/CBDT/2013-14/55
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Direct Taxes
North Block, New Delhi Dated: 31.01.2014

Office
Memorandum
Sub:- Broad Guidelines for Media Interaction
With a view to keeping the public informed of the policy initiatives and the achievements of the Department, it is imperative to have a proactive interaction with the Media. Media co-ordination is also important to improve the publicperception of the Department for effective tax governance. The need of a sound media co-ordination is also felt to counter factually incorrect media reports against the Department which come up on many occasions on diverse issues and actions.
2. The office of the Official Spokesperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes was created in the year 2006 along with a Media Centre. There is a felt need to have broad guidelines for the CBDT toachieve the following objectives:
A. To clearly delineate the purpose of interaction with the media
B. To enumerate the policy guidelines and the general framework within which the interaction with media will take place ; and
C. To lay down procedural guidelines for the officers responsible for interaction with the media.
Purpose of Media Interaction
3. The Media interaction should broadly aim at achieving the following purpose:
a. To disseminate information to the public at large about their entitlements and obligations in respect of Direct Tax Laws.
b. To highlight the steps taken for facilitating compliance to the Direct Tax Laws.
c. To keep the public posted about the important changes in tax laws and procedures.
d. To share all the significant events pertaining to the Income Tax Department.
e. To clarify the Departmental stand on news/views reported in the media which are factually incorrect.
f To communicate with public at large on any other issues that the Board may approve.
Policy Guidelines
4.1 With a view to achieve the afore-stated purpose(s), the issues to be covered in the press release/Media briefings may include:
(i) Broad trends of budget collection
(ii) Important policy initiatives taken by the Department in key areas of work.
(iii) Significant changes in Tax Laws, Rules and Procedures.
(iv) Measures taken to improve Tax payer services.
(v) The impact of measures taken for enforcement against tax defaulters.
(vi) Significant achievements at the National/Regional level.
(vii) Important National and International events having significance for the Income Tax Department.
(viii) Important Policy decisions affecting the Tax payers.
(ix) Fresh Notifications, Instructions, Circulars etc.
(x) Clarifications in respect of factually incorrect media reports.
(xi) International Tax Treaties, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs), Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) etc.
(xii) Technology Initiatives.
(xiii) New important judgments in favor of Revenue etc.
• (The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive.)
4.2 The press releases/press briefings shall be in alignment with the views and policies of the Government.
4.3 The press brief shall be factual, objective, accurate and reliable.
4.4 Telephonic or other informal communication with media must not be made, as the authenticity and accuracy of such interactions remains unverifiable.
4.5 The CIT (Media- Coordination & Technical Policy) (M&TP, hereafter) CBDT shall be the Official Spokesperson and Media — Coordinator of the CBDT.
4.6 The Chairperson, CBDT shall be the Competent Authority at the level of CBDT and all the press releases shall be issued by the Official Spokesperson and Media-Coordinator, CBDT with the approval of the Chairperson, CBDT.
4.7 The Chairperson and the Members of the Board may participate in the Panel Discussions/Talk Shows etc. on the Television and Radio Channels to present the views of the Government. They may also hold the Press Conferences/Press Briefings, whenever so needed.
4.8 The Chairperson, CBDT shall be the Competent Authority to authorise an officer having the expertise and knowledge of the given subject to participate in the Panel Discussions/Talk Shows etc. on the Television and Radio channels and to present the views of the Government in such discussions.
Procedural Guidelines
5.1 There already exists a Media Centre at the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) with the CIT (M&TP) as the officer-in-charge. The said arrangement shall continue as it is.
5.2 The CIT(M&TP), CBDT shall be the Official Spokesperson and Media Coordinator of the CBDT.
5.3 In the absence of the CIT(M&TP), the Addl. CIT(M&TP), CBDT shall act as the Official Spokesperson and Media- Coordinator of the CBDT.
5.4 The Official Spokesperson and Media-Coordinator shall be responsible for
• Effective communication with print/electronic media.
• Compiling the information prior to putting it in public domain with due consideration of its utility and confidentiality.
5.5 The CIT(M&TP) shall be responsible for maintaining records pertaining to Press Releases, published Press Reports, News items etc.
5.6 The CIT(M&TP) shall go through the important newspapers every day and give a briefing to the Chairperson, CBDT on important issues.
5.7 The CIT (M&TP) shall issue the press releases with the approval of the Competent Authority.
5.8 The CIT (M&TP) shall regularly send the copies of the important news items pertaining to the Department to all the Members of the Board.
5.9 The CIT (M&TP) shall be responsible for coordinating and arranging the interactive sessions / interviews / briefings of the Chairperson / Member(s) of the CBDT with the Media as and when desired.
5.10 If information on any specific issue is required to be given to any section of the media, the issue shall be referred by the CIT (M&TP) to the Member concerned. The information shall be released to the Media on the basis of the inputs received from the Member/Division concerned, with the approval of the Competent Authority.
5.11 If any Officer/Division of the CBDT wants an action to be taken citing offence in respect of some Media Report/Article/TV Show/Radio Programme or any other thing appearing in Printed or Electronic media, such Officer/Division shall make a report to the CIT(M&TP) giving the complete facts and the supporting material. On receipt of such a report, the CIT(M&TP) may take up the issue, with the prior approval of the Competent Authority, with the Editor/ Producer/ other official concerned.
5.12 If any News Item/Article published in any Newspaper/Magazine/ Journal etc. is found to be factually incorrect, the CIT (M&TP), after obtaining the complete and correct facts from the Member concerned may issue, with the approval of the Competent authority, the version of the Government and may ensure that the same is duly published by the Newspaper/Magazine/Journal etc., as the case may be.
5.13 The CIT(M&TP), with the approval of the Competent Authority, shall disseminate information through media about all the major initiatives taken by the Government in the direction of Tax Payer services. Press notes in this regard, however, shall be made available to the CIT(M&TP) by the Office/Division concerned.
5.14 The CIT (M&TP) may also make, after obtaining the suitable inputs from the Office/Division concerned and with the approval of the Competent Authority, periodic reporting in the Press aboutthe impact of the new initiatives thus taken.
5.15 The CIT (M&TP) shall, after obtaining the requisite inputs from the office /Division concerned and with the approval of the Competent Authority, issue suitable press releases regarding the major changes in tax policies, tax laws and procedures. All such important policy decisions/amendments in law and procedures affecting the taxpayers shall be brought to the notice of the CIT (M&TP) by the Office/Division concerned.
5.16 In view of the likely queries from the Media regarding the fresh Notifications/Instructions/Circulars etc., it will be desirable that the Office/Division concerned of the CBDT makes available to the CIT(M&TP) a copy of such Notification/Instruction/Circular the day the same is issued.
5.17 Issues pertaining to Search & Seizure Actions, Special Investigation, Intelligence & Criminal Investigation and other issues and actions pertaining to the Investigation Wing shall be directed by CIT(M&TP) to the Member (Inv.) The Member (Inv.) shall directly deal with the media in respect of issues pertaining to his area of work.
5.18 Whenever it is felt by any Division that it will not be possible to share information on the given subject, CIT(M&TP) shall be authorised to ask the media persons to contact the Member concerned directly.
5.19 The Members of the Board may arrange to provide inputs to the CIT (M&TP) on monthly basis for suitable Press Releases pertaining to their respective areas of work.
Procedural Guidelines for the Field offices
6.1 If there are some local press reports and electronic media reports relating to direct taxes which are of importance and significance to the Government, the CCIT (CCA) concerned shall communicate the same to the CIT (M&TP), CBDT.
Scope and Applicability
7.1 These instructions apply to both print and audio-visual/electronic media.
7.2 The instructions shall come into force with immediate effect.
(Rekha Shukia)
Commissioner of Income Tax
(Media &Technical Policy)
CBDT, North Block.