Tax officials must act as facilitators for taxpayers: FM

Indirect tax collection target achievable

Tax officials must act as facilitators for taxpayers: FM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday asked the tax officials to work as facilitator for taxpayers and at the same time take action wherever they find cases of revenue leakages or tax evasion.

The finance minister said that the cost of tax collection, both in case of direct and indirect taxes in India, is not very high and further investment in strengthening the tax infrastructure would bring better returns to the government.

Jaitley was inaugurating the two-day Annual Conference of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax here. He stressed upon reducing tax litigation and tax settlement mechanism to unlock the money held-up due to litigations.

Jaitley said that the revenue targets in the case of indirect taxes for the current financial year 2014-15 are challenging one but very achievable.

The revenue targets for indirect taxes for the current financial year have been fixed at Rs 6,23,244 crore, with an overall growth rate of more than 25 per cent.

“The last few years have been somewhat difficult as far as the Indian economy is concerned. In the last few years when you had modest growth rate, they were coupled with either static or negative growth rate especially in manufacturing, and as a result, some of the indirect taxes took a hit,” he said.

Budget process

He, however, said that the government has taken a series of measures in the last two months both inside and outside the budget process in this direction to boost the performance of manufacturing and other sectors. 

The finance minister said that figures relating to manufacturing sector in the months of June and July this year were “quite encouraging” but if this trend continued for a few more months, only then would it constitute a pattern.

Transactional cost

Jaitley further said that India was in favour of trade facilitation and efficient trade facilitation leads to substantial reduction in transactional cost for the businesses. With respect to trade facilitation in taxation, the finance minister said that a large number of irritants which had been created, particularly in our tax administration, had been consciously addressed. 

“Trade facilitation will not only bring ease in doing business in the country but will also reduce the cost of doing business,’ he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said that the growth in the first quarter in indirect tax collections has been about 4.5 per cent only, while in June 2014, the growth was 13.5 per cent overall. Of this, service tax accounted for nearly 28 per cent growth. He said that in July 2014 also, the growth pattern was very good.

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