CERTIFICATION: The Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, presenting certificate to a student as the NIIT Chairman, Mr Rajendra S Pawar, looks on during the convocation ceremony of the first batch of Tax Return Preparers trained by NIIT in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, has advised the first batch of income-tax return preparers to stay up-to-date with tax laws and periodically go in for refresher courses to be in tune with changes in tax laws.
He also wanted them to walk the straight path and refrain from advising clients on how to evade taxes.
Stating that tax avoidance (involving some form of financial engineering) was lawful, he highlighted that tax evasion was unlawful.
"Eventually, you will get a market, a clientele. You will make your reputation if you can make this distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion," he said at the convocation ceremony for the first batch of certified return preparers, who have been trained by NIIT.
The Minister also promised to introduce a new simplified income-tax code before the end of calendar 2007.
"Tax laws are changed from time to time. That is inevitable. There is a myth in this country that India's tax laws and tax returns are most complex. Our tax laws certainly can be simplified, but our tax return forms are among the simplest in the world."
More than 90,000 people applied for the training as tax return preparers, of whom 47,227 were shortlisted by NIIT for entrance examination.
Some 4,517 candidates joined training, of which 3,737 qualified for certification.