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Govt to address nine areas of concern in revised DTC draft
May, 20th 2010

The government has said that it has identified nine areas of concern in the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) draft, and they would be taken into consideration while it is being redrafted.

The revised discussion paper would soon be put up for public comments, after which the DTC bill will be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

"The government intends to introduce the DTC (bill) in the forthcoming monsoon session of the Parliament," Mukherjee said in his address to the Central Direct Tax Advisory Committee, an official release stated today.

Mukherjee said that he has identified nine core areas, over which various stakeholders had expressed concern. All these concerns will be taken into consideration while the code is being redrafted, he added.

The minister said that the second draft of the code would be put in the public domain soon.

The DTC is scheduled to replace the archaic Income Tax Act, 1961.

Last year, the Finance Ministry had come out with the first discussion paper on the DTC, proposing that tax slabs be widened sharply.

As per the proposals, the highest tax liability of 30 per cent was to fall on people with an annual income of above Rs 25 lakh, against the current level of over Rs 8 lakh. It had proposed similiar widening for other tax slabs too.

But the draft also proposed that long-term savings be taxed at the time of withdrawal, and the minimum alternate tax (MAT) be calculated against the gross assets of the companies concerned. These proposals evoked sharp reactions from the industry as well as the public.

The Finance Minister also said that the government has written to 65 countries, asking them to make exchange of information more effective and remove the secrecy clause.

"Twenty low or no-tax countries have been identified for negotiating and signing tax information exchange agreement," the statement added.

The issue had taken centrestage when it was alleged that several thousand crores of rupees had been stashed away in Swiss banks by various Indian political parties during the last general elections.

Among other matters, the Finance Minister said that two more Centralised Processing Centers (CPC) would be set up this year. "The first one at Bengaluru has enabled faster processing of tax returns and better records management," he said.

Mukherjee further stated that the Refund Banker Scheme would be extended to more cities this year. The scheme enables speedier refunds to the bank accounts of taxpayers.

The statement said that the scheme was introduced in nine more cities last year, taking the number to 15.

Under the scheme, tax refunds are transmitted to the State Bank of India for distribution among taxpayers.

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