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    PM Modi launches Transparent Taxation platform to benefit honest taxpayers

    Synopsis

    Three main features of the platform are faceless assessment, faceless appeal and tax payers' charter, the PM announced.

    Transparent Taxation, Honouring the honest: Key announcements by PM Modi
    New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the platform for 'Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest' aimed at easing compliance and expediting refunds, benefiting honest taxpayers.

    Three main features of the platform are faceless assessment, faceless appeal and tax payers' charter, Narendra Modi announced.

    The PM said focus is on making the tax system people-centric and public friendly, “banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured, funding the unfunded and honoring the honest.”

    According to Modi, the four factors responsible for changes in the taxation system were policy-driven governance, belief in people's honesty, the use of advanced technology and efficiency in bureaucracy. "Where there is complexity, there is a problem in compliance," he added.

    In praising the role of honest taxpayers, Modi said: “When the life of an honest taxpayer of the country becomes easy, he moves forward and develops, then the country also develops and leaps forward."

    A persistent issue the current administration has received criticism on is the issue of taxation, despite genuine attempts at improving the tax structure.

    India's tax administration has been known for tax harassment, where overzealous well-intentioned officials while raising tax revenues, have dampened growth and at times done more damage than good.

    The government introduced faceless income tax assessment to reduce the scope for corruption and overreach by officials. The issue of alleged tax harassment by officers gained much attention in India after VG Siddharta, the founder of India's largest coffee shop chain, committed suicide in July and left behind a note accusing tax authorities of persecuting him.

    Tax officials are pushing back against the new faceless tax assessment program. They see problems in the lack of consultation and inadequate resource to implement the changes, a letter reviewed by Reuters shows.

    In a joint letter sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) this month, representatives of the Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers' Association voiced their displeasure.

    Tax officers told Reuters that faceless tax assessment may reduce tax collection and raise pressure on officers that are under stress to meet lofty tax targets for the current fiscal year.

    "We express our strong displeasure on this type of unilateral decision-making as it is not in the interest of the efficient working of the Department," the letter read.

    FM Nirmala Sitharaman called today "a landmark day in the history of tax administration."

    "The CBDT has given a framework and put in place a system in the form of this platform, a transparent efficient and accountable tax system," she added. The platform will use technology such as data analytics and AI.

    “This adds strength to our efforts of reforming and simplifying our tax system. It will benefit several honest taxpayers, whose hard work powers national progress,” PM Modi had earlier said on Twitter.

    Since 2014, there have been consistent attempts at revamping the tax administration. The launch of the platform carries forward the journey of direct tax reforms, following the several measures that have been taken by the CBDT to aid taxpayers.

    The current number of taxpayers in the country is significantly low at only 1.5 crore. The focus of the tax reforms has been on reduction in tax rates and on simplification of direct tax laws.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    95 Comments on this Story

    Dave32 days ago
    So, where is this platform? When is the train coming? From which direction? And where will it take the passengers?
    avtar singh34 days ago
    TRANSPARENT TAXATION SCHEME IS GOOD FOR TAXPAYERS
    Ajay Bhan35 days ago
    great initiative by our Hon. P.M. which will go a long way to help honerst taxpayers & common citizens of all trades
    The Economic Times