Monday, July 14, 2014

Finance ministry wants taxman not to harass taxpayers

The finance ministry is expected to ask senior tax officials to ensure that there is no "harassment" of taxpayers and the department adheres to the government's promise of providing a non-adversarial tax regime.

Chief commissioners of Income Tax department will brainstorm with finance minister Arun Jaitely and other senior officials of the ministry as the government gets down to the task of implementing measures to revamp the tax administration set up in the country.

"The general view is that there should be no harassment of taxpayers whether they are individuals or companies. There should not be any perception that the department is unnecessarily going after individuals or companies," said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified.
"There is a perception that some steps taken by the department are leading to harassment of taxpayers. We need to build enough safeguards to ensure that field formations are sensitized on this issue," said the official.

The revenue authorities will keep a close watch and will take stern action if officers are found to be pursuing cases only with the objective of "harassment."

The FM and tax authorities are also expected to prepare the strategy for mopping up revenues against the backdrop of a sluggish economic situation.

But sources said the main theme of the discussions will be to ensure that a taxpayer friendly image is built by the department and there is a marked shift from the strategy pursued earlier.

The Narendra Modi government has vowed to end what it calls "tax terrorism" and "uncertainty" pursued by the previous UPA coalition. In its manifesto, the BJP had highlighted the need for a tax policy road map so that people are aware of the future and plan accordingly. It had promised to provide a non adversarial and conducive tax environment.

In the Union Budget for 2014-15 presented by Jaitley, the government has taken several steps to revamp the tax department's role and resolve some of the controversial measures undertaken by the UPA government.

Jiatley had announced a series of steps to clear the air on the retrospective taxes and has proposed setting up of a panel to interact with trade and industry on a regular basis to ascertain where clarity on tax laws is required.

Source:-The Economic Times

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