Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Proposed New Direct Tax Legislation

According to a Press Release dated 22nd November 2017 issued by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), the Government of India has constituted a Task Force for drafting a New Direct Tax Legislation.

The Task Force shall set its own procedures for regulating its work and shall submit its report to the Government within six months.

Members of the Task Force include:
(i) Shri Arbind Modi, Member (Legislation), CBDT – Convener
(ii) Shri Girish Ahuja, practicing Chartered Accountant and non-official Director State Bank of India;
(iii) Shri Rajiv Memani, Chairman & Regional Managing Partner of E&Y;
(iv) Shri Mukesh Patel, Practicing Tax Advocate, Ahmedabad;
(v) Ms. Mansi Kedia, Consultant, ICRIER, New Delhi;
(vi) Shri G.C. Srivastava, Retd. IRS (1971 Batch) and Advocate.

Shri Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser- will be a permanent special invitee in the Task Force.

The Terms of Reference of the Task Force is to draft an appropriate direct tax legislation keeping in view:
(i) The direct tax system prevalent in various countries,
(ii) The international best practices.
(iii) The economic needs of the country and
(iv) Any other matter connected thereto.

The Government of India is of the view that since the Income-tax Act, 1961 was drafted more than half a century ago it needs to be redrafted in consonance with economic needs of the country. However, most tax experts are of the view that the Income Tax Act is now well settled. 

The present law already encompasses most of the international best practices such as GAAR, transfer pricing, BEPS, etc. Instead of changing the entire law, the government could perhaps have considered modifying the existing law so that the disputable provisions under current law  and litigation could be minimized.

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