Jaitley hints at giving relief to salaried class

Jaitley hints at giving relief to salaried class

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that he did not favour burdening the salaried and middle classes with more taxes, but would go after tax evaders.

He said the government aimed at encouraging taxpayers to fill their pockets with money as it might lead to spending. It would also help the government collect more indirect taxes.

The government, faced with the daunting task of bringing back black money stashed away abroad, “ is having a re-look” at some of the bilateral tax treaties signed with foreign countries .

Replying to a question during an interaction with PTI, Jaitley said: “I pay the same indirect tax as my attendant. Our volume of consumption may be different. So everybody is paying indirect taxes. And literally almost half your taxes are indirect taxes today. Now, as far as income tax is concerned, to bring those who evade tax is widening the tax net, I am all for it.”

Jaitley, who will present his first full-fledged budget in February, said in his last budget he had increased the tax exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. He would raise it further if he had more money.

“After all, we are talking about what Rs 2.5 lakh means today, taking all the deductions which we have given, somebody up to Rs 4 lakh does not have to pay tax. If someone earning Rs 35,000-40,000 per month puts some money away for savings, (he) won’t have to pay tax. But people falling in this bracket say they don’t save anything with the present cost of living,” he said.

Therefore, he is against reducing the exemptions to widen the tax net. But it’s all right to bring those who evade tax under the net.


On bilateral treaties on black money, Jaitley said he had sent a delegation recently to Switzerland. And they (team members) had come back with some positive movement.
“We have to furnish evidence independent of the HSBC list. I can’t go to them (the foreign countries) and they say the HSBC list is stolen, I won’t cooperate. But if I present to you some independent evidence about names which happen to come on the stolen list, will you provide me the evidence,” he said when asked about  discussions with the Swiss government.

“The cooperation is increasing. Now, if you see the US laws, they want more and more countries to accept the law that provides for automatic exchange of information,” he  said:

To a question whether India would sign such a treaty, he said: “Our application is precisely that. The Supreme Court's earlier judgment needs clarification. So, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is looking into it.”

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