If the intention was to simplify individual tax rules, the finance minister has achieved the opposite. It is ridiculous to have two tax regimes, when even one was confusing enough. That has actually provided more fodder for chartered accountants and tax consultants. There should be a straight migration to a non-exemption regime, with no ifs or buts. And we could have a tax free slab of Rs 10 lakh and reasonable rates for just four slabs. All your income could be included. No exemptions, including housing loan benefits, LTC, medical (except hospitalisation), contribution to any scheme like PF, PPF, insurance etc should be allowed to be deducted. Only interest from schemes with a long lock in such as PPF can be exempt.
With such a simplified tax, compliance and administration will become much easier. The income tax staff freed can be diverted to track GST leakages and avoidance. The FM has also not made it clear whether any of the exemptions in the old regime will be removed or reduced. Further can we migrate from regime to regime as and when desired? If not then this is a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads and would adds to the vagueness of our tax structure.
T R Ramaswami, Mumbai
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