For a stable tax policy and smooth tax administration, the government has taken several steps. One of the key step towards the same was setting up a committee headed by former Delhi High Court Justice RV Easwar, for simplifying the income-tax provisions, reduce litigation and bring in certainty in the tax policy for ease of doing business in India. This committee is expected to provide its first set of recommendations by January 2016, and hence, taxpayers can expect certain measures in the upcoming Budget rationalising the tax laws.
The government has also introduced an e-platform wherein the tax department will correspond with the taxpayers electronically. It would mostly obviate the need of a physical interface with the tax officer which often leads to complaints about harassment. In this regard, a pilot project of sending email queries, notices to taxpayers has already started. The Central Board of Direct Taxes is working on a strategy to create the required processes and capacity in this regard. Hence, it is expected that this e-initiative would become operational in 2016 which could lead to a significant change in the tax administration. This initiative would also supplement the “Digital India” vision of the government.
Further, with the commitment to fight against the black money stashed abroad, the government enacted a new legislation called the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, effective July 1, 2015. The black money Act had also provided a one-time compliance opportunity to the taxpayers (ended on 30 September 2015), to come clean by declaring their undisclosed assets overseas and paying tax and penalty thereon.
The year 2015 witnessed the NDA government’s first full-year Budget. There were several positive developments which made the taxpayer feel happy, if not fully satisfied.
One of the key highlights of the Budget 2015 was abolition of the wealth tax, which was replaced with an additional surcharge of 2% on individuals with income in excess of Rs 1 crore. This clearly showed the intention of the government of having a rationalised and simplified tax regime.
As the personal tax slabs were left untouched in the Budget 2015, taxpayers are now waiting anxiously to have an increased maximum exemption limit in the upcoming Budget. Widening of the tax slab will leave more income at the disposal of the taxpayers. This will ultimately increase the rate of consumption and investment at a macro level.
Over the years, there has been a sharp increase in the cost of medical facilities. Investments made in various avenues under Section 80C of the Act can always help the government to boost investments in different sectors as well as the taxpayers to save tax. However, with too many expenditures clubbed into the overall limit of Rs 1.5 lakh, taxpayers sometimes are discouraged from making further investments. Hence, in order to encourage investments among the taxpayers, the specified limit may be increased.
The writer is a senior director, Deloitte Haskins & Sells. With inputs from Pallavi Dhamecha, manager and Deepti Veera, deputy manager, Deloitte Haskins & Sells