Committee to Assess I-T Law

The government has set up a committee under a former Delhi High Court judge to review the income tax law and identify clauses that lead to litigations or adversely impact the ease of doing business, underlining its resolve to address all tax related issues.
The 10-member panel, headed by Justice RV Easwar (retd), has been tasked with submitting the first batch of report by January 31, before the budget for 2016-17.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the main idea behind setting up the panel is to make the I-T Act taxpayer friendly . “We have over the last few months been resolving a lot of past issues and now time has come to look at some provisions of the I-T Act to look at how their drafting quality can be improved in order to avoid ambiguity so that everybody is certain as to what the Act itself says,“ Jaitley told the media at the launch of e-Sahyog, a pilot project of the income tax department to facilitate taxpayers.
In a four-point terms of reference, the government has asked the committee to study and identify the provisions phrases in the Act which are leading to litigation due to different interpretations, those impacting the ease of doing business, and areas and provisions of the Act that need to be simplified.The government wants the committee to “suggest alternatives and modifications to the existing provisions and areas so identified to bring about predictability and certainty in tax laws without substantial impact on the tax base and revenue collection,“ a statement issued by the finance ministry said. The committee can give its recommendations in batches.
“So, as and when it keeps giving one bundle of suggestion with regard to simplification we will examine them and whichever are found acceptable we will try and simplify those provisions of the I-T Act,“ Jaitley said. The government had set up a committee under Justice AP Shah to review the provisions relating to minimum alternate tax or MAT on foreign portfolio investors. Based on the recommendation, the government has successfully closed the issues, directing officials not to take action in such cases.

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