Experts have termed tax proposals in the Budget as a mixed bag without major surprises as most key measures were on expected lines.
However, they expressed doubts about government collecting the targeted higher indirect tax mop-up at Rs. 20,600 crore, saying in the past too this was not achieved.
As per Khaitan and Co’s Dinesh Agrawal, the government’s plan to mop-up additional revenue from indirect tax may not materialise, especially from jewellery and garments sectors.
Budget 2016-17 has increased excise duty on jewellery and branded garments by 1 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.
But past efforts to levy duty on these goods did not succeed, he noted.
Excise duty on tobacco, SUVs and luxury cars above Rs. 10 lakh have also gone up.
Describing the Budget as an incremental move in the backdrop of increased global uncertainty, Girish Vanvari of KPMG India said while there is nothing new on the taxation front in general, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley could have done more.
“No change in capital gains tax for listed stocks is a positive for the stock markets. However, the additional tax of 10 per cent on dividends in excess of Rs. 10 lakh and increase in stock transaction tax on options is a dampener for the markets,” Mr. Vanvari said in a note.
“All in all, in the backdrop of the prevailing global scenario, the Budget is a good pragmatic balancing act on the taxation side,” he added.
On the proposals to end tax litigations, Sanjay Sanghvi of Khaitan & Co said, “Overall a good Budget, in line with the focus of the government on ‘Make in India’, promoting growth and reducing tax litigation and compliance burden.”
On plans to grant stay to taxpayers on payment of 15 per cent of the disputed tax demand pending disposal of appeal, he said, “This will go a long way in avoiding harassment of taxpayers. The plan to address the domestic black money issue is another significant tax proposal.”
Naveen Aggarwal of KPMG noted the Budget was in line with the Easwar committee report on tax simplification.
“Extending the limit of presumptive scheme to taxpayers with annual turnover of Rs 2 crore from present limit of Rs. 1 crore is a welcome step,” he said.
He also welcomed the steps to simplify penalty provisions, saying the move shows government’s intention of bringing in tax certainty.
On retrospective taxation, he said the plan not to pursue fresh cases and to introduce special regime to settle past disputes shows government’s commitment to create a stable and predictable tax regime.
Rohan Phatarphekar of KPMG said as expected, the transfer pricing documentation norms will now include country by country reporting for MNCs with revenue of €750 mn and above.
“This is an absolute new format of reporting which is now becoming a global norm. While it will bring in transparency, it will also result in initial challenges for taxpayers of putting together this report and an overall increase in the compliance burden,” he said.