Signalling that the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) needs a fresh look, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said the tax department has to be firm with tax evaders for whom non-compliance is a business.
“DTC has gone through various versions...I need time to look at DTC. I am only 28 days old... It requires a fresh look,” Chidambaram said addressing a meeting of the chief commissioners and director generals of customs, excise and service tax.
As finance minister in the UPA-I Government, Chidambaram had first mooted the idea of DTC, which seeks to replace the Income Tax Act, 1961.
His successor and now President Pranab Mukherjee had introduced the DTC Bill in 2010 which also included a number of new provisions, followed by changes suggested by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.
Without giving any concrete timeframe, Mukhrejee in his 2012-13 Union Budget speech had said that the government will examine the report of the committee expeditiously and take steps for enactment of DTC at the earliest.
On whether General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) would get postponed again, he said the government is awaiting the report of the Shome Committee, which is looking into the concerns expressed by foreign and domestic investors. The panel is expected to submit its draft recommendations by August 31 and report by September 30.
Introduction of GAAR, proposed in the 2012-13 Budget to check tax evasion, had triggered strong opposition by foreign investors following which its implementation was postponed till April next year.
Later, the Finance Ministry had come out with draft guidelines on GAAR in June and had invited stakeholders comments. Following that, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had set up an expert committee under Shome, a taxation expert, to hold fresh consultations on the controversial tax issue.
On the indirect tax collections, Chidambaram said that he was hopeful that the target of `5.05 lakh crore during the current fiscal would be met.
Chidambaram said he has asked Central Board of Excise and Customs officials to focus more on top 100 tax payers to achieve the indirect tax collection target of Rs 5.05 lakh crore in the current fiscal.