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Fresh draft on tax code soon
May, 25th 2010

The finance ministry will come out with a revised discussion paper on the direct tax code for public comments in the first week of June, according to a senior government official.

The draft was earlier scheduled to be released this week.

At a programme of the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce here today, revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said concerns were raised from different quarters on a few basic issues after the first draft of the direct tax code was released in August.

However, he declined to give the details of those issues and changes that had been incorporated.

We tried to address those issues in the revised draft. People can submit their viewpoints in the next 15 days. The final draft will be prepared in June. It will be then sent to the parliamentary standing committee for its review when the House assembles for the monsoon session. Hopefully, the new direct tax code will be made into a law in the next budget session of Parliament, he said.

Concerns have been voiced over nine basic issues, including minimum alternate tax.

Mitra said minimising exemptions was the basic aim of the tax code, besides broadening the tax base, moderating tax rates and increasing compliance by simplifying procedures.

He said direct tax collections in 2009-10 were more than the initial estimates.

We had targeted Rs 3,70,000 crore in direct taxes. However, following buoyant collections from the second quarter of 2009-10, we revised the target to Rs 3,80,000 crore, he said.

The target for 2010-11 has been set at Rs 4,50,000 crore.

Mitra, who met Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta earlier today, said there was no discussion on the states willingness to implement the fiscal responsibility and budgetary management act.

States are being advised for long about the importance of fiscal responsibility. But neither did I have any discussion with the state government on this nor am I aware whether it is willing to sign the pact, he said.

On whether the Centre will compensate states for revenue losses because of the implementation of the goods and services tax, Mitra said the government could compensate fully for the revenue losses in the initial years.

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