Special Correspondent

Second draft of the code will be put in the public domain soon: Pranab

DTC will replace the archaic Income-Tax Act, 1961

Minister allays stakeholders' fears

NEW DELHI: “The government intends to introduce the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) legislation in the coming monsoon session of Parliament,'' Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said.

The revised discussion paper would soon be put up for public comments, he said according to an official statement here on Wednesday.

Addressing the Central Direct Taxes Advisory Committee, Mr. Mukherjee said he had identified nine core areas on which various stakeholders had expressed concern. All these would be taken into consideration while the code was redrafted.

The Minister said the second draft of the code would be put in the public domain soon. The DTC would replace the archaic Income-Tax Act, 1961.

Last year, the Ministry had come out with the first discussion paper on the DTC, proposing that tax slabs be widened sharply. According to the proposals, the highest tax liability of 30 per cent was to fall on people with an annual income of above Rs.25 lakh, against the current level of over Rs.8 lakh.

It had proposed a similar widening for other tax slabs too.

The draft also proposed that long-term savings be taxed at the time of withdrawal and the minimum alternate tax (MAT) be calculated against the gross assets of the companies concerned. These proposals evoked sharp reactions from the industry and the public.

Secrecy clause

The Minister said the government had written to 65 countries, asking them to make exchange of information more effective and remove the secrecy clause.

The issue had taken centre stage when it was alleged that several thousand crores of rupees were stashed away in Swiss banks by political parties during the last general elections.

Mr. Mukherjee said the Refund Banker Scheme would be extended to more cities this year.

The scheme enabled speedier refunds to the taxpayers' bank accounts. Tax refunds were transmitted to the State Bank of India for distribution.

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