Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a new tax platform “Transparent Taxation—Honouring the Honest”. PM Modi said the new platform comprises of an array of tax reforms that would lead India towards a simple and transparent tax regime.
The effort is to make the tax system seamless, painless and faceless, PM Modi said.
Reforms in taxation
Under the new tax platforms, the prime minister unveiled the faceless tax scrutiny and appeal, and taxpayer charter. Notably, the Income Tax (I-T) Department had last year launched a pilot project for faceless scrutiny, which achieved considerable success.
Faceless taxation means that the taxpayer and the tax officer have no interaction in the entire assessment, scrutiny, or appeal process. The move is expected to reduce interference of tax officers and instead empowers the taxpayer, PM Modi said.
The prime minister said taxpayer charter is also a major step in the country’s development journey.
The Union budget had announced a taxpayer charter which was expected to have statutory status. It would empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by the Income Tax Department. This has come into effect now.
The charter will ensure trust between a taxpayer and the administration and reduce harassment, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in her budget speech. As a result, it will also increase the efficiency of the department, she had added.
Taxpayer deserves respect
“The taxpayer will now be given the respect they deserve. The taxpayer will now be trusted, not looked at with doubt. The (tax) department will have to carry out the steps and processes in a time-bound manner,” the prime minister said.
In fact, the scrutiny of tax returns has reduced from 0.93 per cent in 2013 to 0.2 per cent in 2019—a four-fold reduction in the last five years.
Speaking at the launch, PM said, “There was a time when there used to be a lot of talk about reforms. Sometimes decisions were taken out of compulsion or pressure, but were called reforms. Due to this, the desired results could not be achieved. Now this thinking and approach, both have changed.”
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