Send harassment-related cases directly for necessary relief: FM to tax payers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 09, 2019 Published on August 09, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the CII President Designate Uday Kotak. (file photo).   -  The Hindu

To consider uniform 25 per cent corporate tax rate for all categories after buoyancy in tax collections


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked aggrieved assessees to send tax harassment-related complaints directly to her even without disclosing the identity. She assured that necessary action will be taken up.

Addressing captains of Indian industry under the CII platform, she expressed her intention to travel around the country, including the tier-2 cities, to get first-hand information on the difficulties faced by the corporates. Also, “a technology-driven platform will be set up wherein cases of harassment can be uploaded, either-with-and-without disclosing identity.” She has assured to look into complaints herself to ensure that powers are not misused and efforts are made to provide relief.

Finance Minister’s remark has come at a time when Income-Tax Department finding itself in controversy when the founder of Café Coffee Day V G Siddhartha made a serious allegation. In his last letter, he wrote,” “There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG (Director General), Income tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block out Mindtree deal and then taking position of our coffee day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch.” Though the department refuted allegations, but still, the industry is upset.

Read also: Bitter brew: VG Siddhartha’s tragic demise raises concerns about tax terrorism

The Finance Minister also made it clear that “At no point and on no score, do we want to make it difficult for the industry.” She reiterated the government’s intention to lower corporate tax. She made it clear that there was no second thought on this matter. The government would consider a uniform 25 per cent corporate tax rate for all categories after buoyancy in tax collections. As of now, 99.3 per cent corporate fall under 25 per cent while remaining which are the big ones are in 30 per cent bracket.

DTC panel report

“We are looking at simplification of taxes,” she said while adding that the report of the Committee on Direct Taxes Code is expected to be released on August 15. The government will immediately take this up for consideration.

She also mentioned the possibility of reviewing some of the milestones concerning infrastructure. In particular, projects with a bearing on the core sectors and job creation may be brought forward. For instance, incentivising affordable housing is likely to be given its impact on the core sectors.

Govt, RBI on the same page

“We have an atmosphere of certainty and cordiality between the RBI and the government,” she said adding that the current high level of synergy between the two is helping to incentivise investments. Recognising that corporates have significant outstanding from the government departments and agencies, she said, her ministry is in the process of addressing this problem. Delayed payment to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is estimated at around ₹ 48,000 crore. Towards this, the government will be releasing outstandings which are not under litigation.

On Corporate Social Responsibility

On Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Finance Minister said she would review the provision on criminal penal provisions. She said, CSR notices with retrospective effect “were unacceptable” and will put a stop to these notices.

Published on August 09, 2019
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