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CBDT sets up technical panel to firm up legal views on major cases
September, 01st 2012

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has decided to set up a committee comprising senior officials of the Finance Ministry and the Income-Tax Department to look into the legal intricacies involved in some of the contentious and controversial cases of the likes of the Vodafone dispute that the taxmen are confronted with.

The objective of setting up a Central Technical Committee (CTC), according to an official note, is to usher in clarity on contentious legal issues and, thereby, reduce litigation through adoption of a consistent approach on similar matters of taxation.

It has been observed that a large part of litigation in the direct taxes matters involves interpretation of legal provisions. Lack of desired clarity on contentious legal issues among the officers of the department sometimes leads to inconsistent approach on the same issue, giving rise to further litigation. With a view to providing clarity on contentious legal issues, promote consistency of approach on a given issue and reduce litigation, it has been decided to set up an institutional mechanism to formulate departmental view, the note said.

The CTC, as per the CBDT decision, is to be headed by a Joint Secretary-level official, and its members will consist of senior I-T officials. A Regional Technical Committee (RTC), comprising local tax officials, will act as the sub-office of the CTC.

According to Finance Ministry sources, the CTC will look into cases involving large revenue implications or strategic legal ramifications and analyse divergent views from all units of the I-T Department such as investigation, assessment and pricing before a legal reply is filed in the high courts or the Supreme Court.

The CBDT note stated that the regional units would prepare a case paper before referring any controversial case to the CTC.

The CTC shall examine the said judgment on priority to decide as to whether filing of Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court will be adequate response for the time being or some legislative amendment is called for, it said.

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