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Pranab asks Income-Tax Dept to gear up for implementing Direct Taxes Code
May, 25th 2011

The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, on Tuesday asked the Income-Tax Department to prepare for transition to the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) regime, which will be ushered in from April 1 next year.

He also announced the Government decision to set up a directorate of criminal investigation within the Income Tax Department to deal with tax crimes related to illegal activities.

Also, a National Information Utilities for CBDT has been approved, Mr Mukherjee said in his address at the 27{+t}{+h} Annual conference of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Income Tax in the Capital.

This will provide operational flexibility and space for the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to rollout innovative services to taxpayers, he added while asking the Tax Department to operationalise it on priority basis.

The National Information Utilities was approved on the recommendations of TAGUP, a committee headed by Mr Nandan Nilekani, who is currently Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

On the transition to Direct Taxes Code, Mr Mukherjee said it would involve various issues such as redrawing of business processes, rules, forms, training needs of manpower and the necessary infrastructure. This task should be completed in a mission mode to avoid any inconvenience to tax payers and also to maintain continuity in revenue buoyancy, he said.

Exemption from filing returns
On salaried taxpayers, the Finance Minister said that those with income upto Rs 5 lakh will be exempted from filing returns for which suitable notification is expected very soon.

This will apply from the current assessment year (2011-12) for the income earned in 2010-11 and would be beneficial to a large section of salaried taxpayers, Mr Mukherjee said.

Mr Mukherjee also said that a lot more remains to be done by the Tax Department on the grievance redressal front. He said that there are a large number of grievances pertaining to tax refunds and credit of TDS, which need to be attended to on an urgent basis.

While the Department has adopted information technology at a large scale, it needs to further improve the quality of delivery of services by streamlining its systems. To introduce a zero grievance regime', it is essential that there is an adoption of integrated approach in dealing with taxpayers. The geographical distribution of jurisdiction of Department in India is irrelevant to taxpayers, he said.

Later, Mr Mukherjee told reporters that the amendments to the existing double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) and the new tax information exchange agreements (TIEA) with tax havens would help the Income Tax department to effectively deal with the menace of black money.

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