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CBDT takes action against three IRS officers for controversial tax report

  • 'The report created panic and tax policy uncertainty in the already stressed economic conditions in the country,' said a govt official
  • They have been divested of their current responsibilities

New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has stripped three senior officers of their current responsibilities for allegedly breaching service rules in preparing a policy document suggesting ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and making it public.

CBDT has charged three Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers--two of them functionaries of the IRS Association—with breaching service and conduct rules in getting a report made by junior officers, which created panic and policy uncertainty, said a government official. “The report created panic and tax policy uncertainty in the already stressed economic conditions in the country," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mint reported on Monday that the government had taken the report, called "Fiscal options and response to covid-19 epidemic", addressed to CBDT chairman P.C. Mody and other members, seriously and had warned that it would investigate how some officials got the report prepared and made its contents public. The report suggested that scrutiny of tax filings be dropped for a year and the wealthy pay a higher tax.

Strict action has been taken by the CBDT in view of their role and complicity in the preparation of the report which advocated tax hike, imposition of a wealth tax, inheritance tax and imposition of a Covid-19 surcharge, said the official.

The finance ministry leadership is visibly upset by the fact that the report found its way to public domain. “The government would have given due consideration to the suggestions made by the young officers. However, in this case, the reports, instead of being sent to the government through the official channel, these senior officers of rank of Principal Commissioner misguided them and went public with the report," said the official. It remains to be seen how the IRS Association would respond to the development.

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