Govt looking into Easwar, Shome reports

Govt looking into Easwar, Shome reports

Thousands of middle class tax payers may be saved from paying higher taxes initially and then claiming refund. Similarly, foreign investors may not worry anymore about an old tax demand coming to haunt them, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that his government was at an advanced stage of looking into recommendations of two key committees set up to clean up Income Tax Act.

Jaitley’s comments give rise to hope that the recommendations of Parthasarathi Shome and Justice (retired) R V Easwar committees may find their way in the Budget 2016.

While Shome Committee had recommended reforms both on direct and indirect tax sides, Easwar panel talked about simplifying provisions related to tax deduction at source (TDS), tax refunds and claims of expenditure for deduction from taxable income.

“There is a group under justice Easwar which is looking into cleaning up the act. The Shome committee report has also given many recommendations which we are at an advanced stage of looking into. It has suggested many reforms in the tax administration itself,” Jaitley said, addressing Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.

“The law must be simple. Then chances of litigation are at a minimum,” he said. Jaitley’s remarks come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured visiting French investors that the retrospective taxation was a thing of the past and that his government had put in place a stable and predictable tax regime.

The Shome panel, which submitted its report to the previous UPA government, had suggested that amendment to tax laws having effect retrospectively should be done in exceptional or rarest of rare cases, and should only be to clarify the legislative intent. They should not be imposed for widening the tax base. The panel had submitted its report in 2012, and since then the new government did not act on it for close to two years, and it was presumed that the recommendations had been put in the cold storage. But Modi’s renewed assertion to foreign investors appeared to have brought it to the fore, once again.

The Shome panel had also recommended spending 10 per cent of tax department’s budget on improving taxpayer services. It said the tax department’s singular objective of protecting revenue without accountability for the quality of tax demands has affected the investment climate in India.
DH News Service

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