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CBDT will adopt 'taxpayer charter' to build trust, reduce harassment: FM

She said an important aspect of both ease of living and ease of doing business is fairness and efficiency of tax administration

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Photo- Sanjay K.Sharma
FILE PHOTO: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman | Photo- Sanjay K.Sharma

Direct tax body CBDT will adopt a "taxpayer charter" which will ensure trust between a taxpayer and the administration and reduce harassment, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday.

"Wealth creators will be respected in this country," Sitharaman said in her 2020-21 Budget speech.

She said an important aspect of both ease of living and ease of doing business is fairness and efficiency of tax administration.

"We wish to enshrine in the statutes a 'taxpayer charter' through this budget. Our government would like to reassure taxpayers that we remain committed to taking measures so that our citizens are free from harassment of any kind," she said.

She further said that any tax system requires trust between taxpayers and the administration, which will be possible only when taxpayer's rights are clearly enumerated.

"With the objective of enhancing the efficiency of the delivery system of the Income Tax Department, I propose to amend the provisions of the Income Tax Act to mandate the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to adopt a Taxpayers' Charter," Sitharaman said.

The Economic Survey 2019-20 tabled in Parliament on Friday had said that ethical wealth creation is the key to India becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025. Taking forward faceless assessment process, the Budget also proposed to bring about "faceless appeal".

Currently, most of the functions of the Income Tax Department starting from the filing of return, processing of returns, issuance of refunds and assessment are performed in the electronic mode without any human interface.

"In order to take the reforms initiated by the Department to the next level and to eliminate human interface, I propose to amend the Income Tax Act so as to enable Faceless appeal on the lines of Faceless assessment," Sitharaman said in her Budget speech.

The Budget also proposed a new dispute resolution scheme-- 'Vivad Se Vishwas' -- for time bound resolution of 4.83 lakh direct tax cases pending in various appellate forums -- Commissioner (Appeals), ITAT, High Court and Supreme Court.

Under the proposed scheme, a taxpayer would be required to pay only the amount of the disputed taxes and will get complete waiver of interest and penalty provided he pays by March 31, 2020. Those who avail this scheme after March 31, 2020 will have to pay some additional amount. The scheme will remain open till June 30, 2020.

In the receipts side, the Budget has pegged gross tax revenues for 2020-21 at Rs 24.23 trillion, up 12 per cent from Rs 21.63 trillion in current fiscal.

Around Rs 6.38 trillion is expected to be mopped up from personal income tax in 2020-21, a 14.13 per cent increase over Rs 5.59 trillion earned in 2019-20.

Besides, Corporate tax revenue is budgeted to increase 11.63 per cent to Rs 6.81 trillion in 2020-21, from Rs 6.10 trillion in current fiscal. The revenues from Goods and Services Tax (GST) is estimated at Rs 6.90 trillion in 2020-21 as against Rs 6.12 trillion in current fiscal.

In the current fiscal the government has missed the gross tax revenue collection target by Rs 2.97 trillion. The budget estimates for gross tax revenue in 2019-20 was Rs 24.61 trillion, while in revised estimates it is pegged at Rs 21.63 trillion. Revenues from corporate tax was cut substantially from Rs 7.66 trillion budgeted for 2019-20, to Rs 6.10 trillion in revised estimates.

Revenue from income tax also missed budget projections of Rs 5.69 trillion. In revised estimates it stands at Rs 5.59 trillion for 2019-20.

First Published: Sat, February 01 2020. 20:20 IST