With the re-working of the income tax code and the GST ((General Service Tax) coming up, NIIT today rolled out its first batch of Tax Return Preparers from Kolkata and adjoining areas.
Framing the new income tax code is top on our agenda together with the procedural mitigations on working out the details of the GST, said Partha Sarathi Shome, Advisor to the Finance Minister, here today.
Shome was in city at a NIIT convocation ceremony of the first batch of TRPs.
The new direct taxes code that will replace the Act relating to income tax will try to keep it easy and comprehensible for the tax-payers.
Re-writing income tax law in simple language is one of the main objectives.
"The new code will try to work on policy prescriptions, implementation of the same, as well as preventive measures, and come up with a rational and easy-to-understand representation of the whole thing", commented Shome.
"The finance and the law ministries are working closely and intensively on the code, and we plan to get it to the parliament before budget 2008", he added.
This is the first ever overhauling of the code since it was rolled out in 1961.
GST was next on the agenda.
Once implemented, the GST will do away with separate sales tax, service tax and excise duty; it will be the consolidated.
The Centre has identified 44 services that can be brought under the state tax net.
"The Empowered Committee of state finance ministers and secretaries on Value Added Tax(VAT), would decide on the recommendations as to which among these 44 services are to be shortlisted.", Shome said.
This is addition to the 33 services that the centre has agreed to on which the states can have 100 percent of the collections.
"There has been a 3 fold rise in income tax returns over the last decade, from 12 to 36 million.", said Shome.
To further facilitate the the process of paying taxes so that non-filers can also come under the web, the Department of Income Tax mandated NIIT to train 5000 graduates on income tax filing procedures under the Tax Return Preparers Scheme of the department.
The training has been sponsored by DIT.
This would create a pool of certified professionals to help file returns of income tax assessees in the lower income category across the country.
This would include individuals, Hindu undivided families,and small business firms,as well.170 candidates were awarded certificates today.
Under article 139(B) of the IT Act, they would be now referred to as 'Certified Tax Return Preparers'.
"Around 46000 candidates had applied for the training course, we had shortlisted 5000 for the pilot project", said Sanjoy Majumdar, regional manager of NIIT.
"They were imparted a 20 day training by experienced chartered accountants, and the rest of the training was experiential", he added.
They would receive a unique identification number from the DIT and can start functioning independently from now on.
A help desk manned by tax experts have been set up to help the TRPs file returns.
"The Aykar Bhavan at Kolkata would also have a help desk to provide back-end support to them.", said G Chaudhury, commissioner of IT, computer operations, Kolkata.