Home >Budget 2019 >News >Govt looking to simplify tax system: Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman. (PTI)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman. (PTI)

Govt looking to simplify tax system: Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Authorities taking steps to reduce harassment of genuine taxpayers, says Sitharaman
  • To bring customers and traders close to each other, govt has planned annual mega shopping festivals

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharman on Tuesday said the government has been taking various steps to simplify the tax system and reduce alleged harassment of genuine taxpayers, based on suggestions from various stakeholders.

“I am calling upon everyone for suggestions so that we can work towards simplifying the system," Sitharaman said at an event organized by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in New Delhi.

The finance minister has repeatedly said that businesses will not face any harassment by tax officials and a new system has been put in place to make officials accountable for their communication with the assessee.

Besides, steps have also been taken to reduce human interface between tax officers and taxpayers through a faceless e-assessment scheme, which was launched last October.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had also launched a computer-generated documentation identification number (DIN) in October to improve transparency in tax administration.

Every communication—assessment, investigation and penalty, among others—issued by the income tax department now has a DIN, which is expected to ensure an audit trail for any communication. Sitharaman said that such cases have to be closed within 30 days.

To bring customers and traders close to each other, the government has planned annual mega shopping festivals, along the lines of the Dubai shopping festival, the minister said, adding that the commerce ministry is working on it. The move is expected to provide a big platform for traders to sell their merchandise.

Such festivals will be held on distinctive themes, such as gems and jewellery, yoga, tourism, and textiles and leather, across four centres in India from 2020.

The moves come amid India’s attempts to battle an economic slowdown, tepid job growth and decelerating exports. The economy expanded 4.5% in the September quarter, its slowest pace in more than six years, at a time when global economic conditions have also turned less favourable.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also reiterated that the government has corrected past weaknesses of the economy and that genuine taxpayers will not be harassed. He also urged the industry to move ahead with new energy.

On Monday, Modi met top industrialists, including Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, Adani Group founder Gautam Adani, JSW Group chairman Sajjan Jindal and Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, among others, ahead of the Union budget for 2020-21.

“Indian industry, in a transparent environment without fear, without hindrance, move ahead, create wealth for the country, create wealth for ourselves. This has been the endeavour of all of us. It has been a constant effort to liberate the Indian industry from the trap of laws," the prime minister had said.

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