New direct tax code panel report to overhaul I-T Act delayed by 15 days

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The much-anticipated report on the new direct tax code (DTC) to overhaul and simplify the 58-year-old Income Tax Act has been pushed back by a fortnight. The taskforce, set to submit the report on July 31, was handed a 15-day extension at the last minute to incorporate views of the new members, said the official statement.

“The government has allowed the task force to submit its report by August 16, in light of the fact that the new members… requested for more time to provide further inputs,” the government said in a release.

The government had last month expanded the scope of the taskforce to look into five more areas and nominated two new members — Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian and Joint Secretary (Revenue) Ritvik Pandey.

“The report was all set to be submitted today (Wednesday), but CEA Subramanian wanted to give additional inputs, hence the deadline was extended,” said a government official.

The new terms of reference included faceless and anonymised scrutiny, mechanism for system-based cross verification of the financial transactions, reduction in litigation and expeditious disposal of appeals. 

This is the second extension for the taskforce under the Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) member Akhilesh Ranjan. Earlier, the committee was supposed to submit its report by May 31, but then finance minister Arun Jaitley gave a two-month extension to complete the exercise.

In fact, the earlier report led by former CBDT member Arbind Modi with same terms of reference was not accepted by then finance minister in September last year, on the grounds that all members could not arrive at a consensus.

The proposed DTC is aimed at reforming complex income tax laws into simpler tax codes with reduced rates, fewer exemptions and tax slabs. Once the draft report is ready, it will be put up for public suggestions to address the concerns of all stakeholders.

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