Experts' hope high from direct tax code


New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS): With the direct tax code (DTC) being in the works for years and report of the task force expected anytime now, tax experts hope the new draft law would ease compliance burden and reduce future litigations by incorporating orders of various high courts and the Supreme Court while settling the cases.

"Broadly, easing the tax and compliance burden, bringing in simplification and certainty in tax provisions and compliances, and introducing provisions facilitating merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and other restructuring will be the major asks from corporates," said Amrish Shah, Partner, Deloitte India.

Rahul Garg, Senior Partner (Tax & Regulatory), PwC India said that his expectation is that the new DTC would be a modern law which would make tax administration technology enabled. Further, it would make tax governance effective.

The Modi government in its previous term had set up an Expert Committee in 2017 to draft a new Direct Tax Code (DTC) to replace the decades-old Income Tax Act, 1961. The panel's terms of reference (ToR) and constitution were changed earlier and therefore deadline for submitting the report was also extended on at least three occasions.

Akhilesh Ranjan, a CBDT member, is the head of the Task Force. Members of the task force also include Girish Ahuja (chartered accountant), Rajiv Memani (chairman and regional managing partner of EY India), Mukesh Patel (Practicing Tax Advocate), Mansi Kedia (Consultant, ICRIER) and G.C. Srivastava (retired IRS and Advocate).

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is the apex policy-making body of the Direct Tax department.

Given that increasing the taxpayer base is one of the key result areas (KRAs) of the Tax Department, the panel is expected to suggest ways for simplifying the process for filing annual income tax returns (ITRs), especially for salaried taxpayers.

"The biggest thing one can expect that the settled positions which have come through courts are incorporated so that there are fewer litigations in the future," said Riaz Thingna, director, Grant Thornton Advisory Pvt Ltd.

A tax advisor associated with one of the Big-4 consultancies, however, said that the new draft law would unlikely incorporate all the court orders.

"It will only include those where the Tax Department has got favourable orders," he said.

The report of the Task Force would come at a time when the economy is going downhill with most macro indicators pointing to a slowdown. Various sectors such as automobile and real estate are going through one of the worst crisis in recent years with demand for relief package growing by the day.

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