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DTC: Reconsider stance on definition of accountant, Panel tells Finance Ministry
March, 15th 2012

The Standing Committee on Finance has urged the Finance Ministry to reconsider the suggestions of company secretaries and cost accountants to include them within the definition of accountant under the proposed Direct Taxes Code.

The Finance Ministry had in its submissions to the Parliamentary Panel contended that the suggestions of these two professions company secretaries and cost accountants are not acceptable as they may not have the expertise to deal with all the financial statements and matters for tax purposes.

In its report, the Standing Committee headed by Mr Yashwant Sinha has, however, suggested that the inclusion of company secretaries and cost accountants within the ambit of an accountant may provide small and medium enterprises a wider and cost effective scope for selection of professionals. This will be an important initiative towards simplified tax compliance regime, the panel has said.

The widening of scope of definition of accountant in the direct taxes code will give cost accountants the due recognition, Mr M. Gopalakrishnan, President of Institute of Cost Accountants of India, said.

He said that lawmakers need to recognise that cost accountants are closely associated with businesses and even involve themselves in preparation and maintenance of accounts

If the definition of accountant is altered, it will widen the professional opportunities for cost accountants and company secretaries as many legislations in India such as VAT, excise draw the definition of accountant from the one in the income-tax law, sources pointed out.

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