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Government mulls Shome panel suggestions on tax administration
January, 27th 2016

The government is considering the recommendations of the Parthasarathi Shome committee aimed at simplifying tax administration, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday. Among the key proposals of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC), headed by Dr. Shome, was a suggestion that Income Tax Return forms should also include wealth tax details.

The panel had mooted that retrospective amendments to tax laws should be avoided as a principle and that the post of Revenue Secretary be abolished. Other recommendations were for the CBDT and the CBEC to be merged and for the use of Permanent Account Number (PAN) to be widened. The TARC, which was appointed by the UPA Government, submitted its report to Mr. Jaitley in June 2014. “The Shome Committee report has given several recommendations which we are at a very advanced stage of looking into,” Mr. Jaitley said, addressing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. “It has suggested certain reforms in tax administration.” The Finance Minister said a simpler tax system would ensure fewer appeals and said further efforts would be made to bring down arrears. “Laws must be simple, so even if you have a large number of assessees and you have a large population, if your laws are simple, then the possibility of excessive litigation does not arise.”

“I do hope that with all these changes, an improved performance in the tribunal, which you are endeavouring to get, the arrears will be low, our tax buoyancies will be higher and the harassment to the assessee would probably be least.”

Mr. Jaitley said that the proposal for reducing corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over 4 years along with removal of corresponding tax exemptions that he had made in his last Budget would make the tax system cleaner and simpler and will ensure that “oppressive taxman does not hover over us”.

“More and more returns are now online, the queries are being addressed online, the answers can come online, and therefore the human interaction in those assessments itself is coming down,” he said.

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