Rules on retro tax to be framed soon, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The technical glitches in IT portal will be fixed largely in the next couple of weeks.

Published - August 16, 2021 07:06 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the rules that will lead to scrapping of the retrospective tax demands made on companies such as Cairn Energy Plc and Vodafone Plc will be framed soon.

Parliament earlier this month passed a bill to scrap all tax demands made using the 2012 retrospective tax legislations. The bill provides for government refunding the retro tax to companies provided all legal challenges are withdrawn.

Now the rules for the same have to be framed, which Ms. Sitharaman said will be done soon.

“I will follow the law passed in Parliament,” she said.

The Finance Minister said her ministry officials are discussing with Cairn, Vodafone on closure of retro tax cases, refund and settlement.

“No discussions with me (have happened) so far,” she said.

Technical glitches in IT portal to be sorted out soon

Ms. Sitharaman said technical glitches in the new income tax e-filing portal will be largely fixed in the next couple of weeks and that she has been constantly reminding Infosys on the issue.

“I have been reminding Infosys (the vendor which developed the new portal) constantly, and (Infosys head) Nandan Nilekani has been messaging me with assurances that they will sort it out,” she said.

The glitches will be fixed largely in the next couple of weeks, she added.

Inflation to be within target range in FY22

Ms. Sitharaman said that she expects inflation to remain in the prescribed range during the current fiscal.

The RBI has been mandated to keep inflation at 4 per cent, with tolerance level of 2 per cent on either side.

She expressed confidence that the revenue would be buoyant in the coming months. Both Goods and Services Tax (GST) and direct taxes have improved in the past few months, the minister said.

On the demand pick up, she said there is enough liquidity in the market and credit growth is expected to pick up in the coming festive season.

FM rules out cut in excise duty on petrol, diesel for now

Ms. Sitharaman ruled out a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel to ease rates that have touched all-time highs, saying payments in lieu of past subsidised fuel price pose limitations.

The previous Congress-led UPA government had issued bonds to state-owned oil companies to make up for the difference in the artificially suppressed retail selling price of fuel and the cost. These oil bonds and the interest thereon are being paid now.

Sitharaman said the government has paid over Rs 60,000 crore interest in the last 5 years on these oil bonds and there still was an outstanding of Rs 1.30 lakh crore.

“If I did not have the burden to service the oil bonds, I would have been in a position to reduce excise duty on fuel,” she told reporters.

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