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Govt sets up high-level panel on tax issues
December, 04th 2014

The government on Wednesday set up a High Level Committee (HLC) to interact with trade and industry and identify areas where clarity on tax laws is needed, a move aimed at boosting confidence among taxpayers.

The panel will be headed by former chief economic adviser Ashok Lahiri and includes Sidhartha Pradhan , former member of Settlement Commission (income tax and wealth tax) and Gautam Ray former DG (audit) customs and central excise. The HLC will submit half-yearly reports to the finance minister Arun Jaitley.

In his 2014-15 Budget speech, Jaitley had announced the government's intention to set up a high level committee to interact with trade and industry on a regular basis and ascertain areas where clarity in tax laws was required. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central Board of Excise and Customs shall issue appropriate clarifications, wherever considered necessary, on the tax issues within a period of two months.

This was among several measures that the NDA government had unveiled to boost the confidence of tax payers and provide certainty and clarity in tax laws. The government is dealing with several high profile tax disputes with multinationals and has taken steps to calm nerves of investors by promising a non-adversarial tax regime.

The panel will give recommendations to the CBDT/CBEC for issuing appropriate clarifications on tax issues. The two tax authorities will issue clarifications within two months from the date of receipt of recommendations of the panel.

The committee will be assisted by two nodal officers not below the rank of joint secretary/commissioner, one each from Income Tax and Customs & Central Excise. The choice of nodal officers will be recommended by the CBDT and the CBEC. The appointment of would be approved by the revenue secretary, a statement said.

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