Budget 2021

Budget 2020 | Finance Minister proposes ‘taxpayer’s charter’ to boost trust

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and MoS Anurag Thakur holds the folder containing the Union Budget documents, in New Delhi on February 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday proposed a new ‘taxpayer’s charter’ aimed at boosting trust between the citizens and the authorities, in order to improve the efficiency of tax administration.

“Our Prime Minister has laid before us Ease of Living as a goal to be achieved on behalf of all citizens. An important aspect of both ease of living and ease of doing business is fairness and efficiency of tax administration,” Ms. Sitharaman said in her Budget speech. “We wish to enshrine in the statutes a “taxpayer charter”... government would like to reassure taxpayers that we remain committed to taking measures so that our citizens are free from harassment of any kind,” she added.

The charter, which would enumerate taxpayer’s rights, would be incorporated in the Income Tax Act through suitable amendments, the minister said. “I propose to amend the provisions of the Income Tax Act to mandate the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to adopt a Taxpayers’ Charter. The details of the contents of the charter shall be notified soon,” she added.

‘Improving effectiveness’

The Budget also proposed several other measures to smooth the administration of the IT regime including enhanced use of technology.

As part of modification of the existing e-assessment scheme, “it is proposed to amend sub-section (3A) of section 143 of the Act to,- (i) expand the scope so as to include the reference of section 144 of the Act relating to best judgement assessment in the said sub-section; (ii) provide that Central Government may issue any direction under sub-section (3B) of the said section upto 31st March, 2022.”

This amendment would take effect from April 1, 2020.

A provision for e-appeal has also been included as part of the drive to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability to the assessment process.

With the aim of doing away with human interface from the system, the e-appeal scheme, on the lines of e-assessment scheme, would help in “eliminating the interface between the Commissioner (Appeals) and the appellant in the course of appellate proceedings to the extent technologically feasible”.

As part of the process an appellate system would be introduced incorporating “dynamic jurisdiction in which appeal shall be disposed of by one or more Commissioner (Appeals)”.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 2:39:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2020-finance-minister-proposes-taxpayers-charter-to-boost-trust/article30715159.ece

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