The process to roll out the Direct Tax Code is “on” and the government has now prepared a draft with comments made by the industry and it is being examined by various Ministries, Parthasarathi Shome, Advisor to the Finance Minister, said on Friday.

“The Direct Tax Code that was worked on from 2007-08 is the original Direct Tax Code and it was placed on the internet in 2009. It was converted into Direct Tax Code 2010, reflecting comments from industry, chambers and so on and so forth,” Mr. Shome said.

“Under the Ministry of Finance guidance, we worked on the comments made by the Committee of Parliament and we have now prepared a draft Direct Tax Code which is being examined by other Ministries,” he said, after inaugurating a two-day All India Workshop on Indirect Tax Law, organised by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), in Chennai.

“So, there has been a lot of speculation, what happened to it. Basically, that process is on. We have to give other Ministries the time. Hopefully, when that is over, it will come to Parliament at some point,” he said.

Goods and Service Tax

On the Goods and Service Tax (GST), he said a lot of discussions took place with various industries and finally, a draft Constitution Amendment Bill emerged for the GST.

“That lays out certain general features of the Goods and Service Tax. What are the structures… the frameworks. That is being worked on. The Central Government is ready with it. It will go back to the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers and later hopefully, it will be placed in Parliament,” he said.

However, he cautioned that GST would be passed only by the respective state governments.

“It has to be signed by the State legislators and they have to pass it. That is the overall umbrella constitution amendment that will allow both the Centre and the state to basically and fundamentally change the overall structure of tax assignment among the Centre and the states,” he said.

He advised industry members to examine the draft points of GST.

“Examine very carefully and I think it is more important for the industry to double check rather than just wanting a GST. There has to be universalisation. You have to really ensure that the rules are rational and there is improvement over the current structure,” he said.

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