With reference to the editorial, "Hasten tax reforms" (June 21), while unnecessary appeals must be avoided, the suggestion for abolishing revenue collection targets is neither possible nor desirable.
A finance minister should necessarily undertake a comprehensive exercise of arriving at an estimated revenue, both from tax and non-tax sources vis-a vis the estimated expenditure in the ensuing financial year, while presenting his annual Budget. However, it is erroneous to assume that such an estimate will remain unchanged during the entire year. Depending on the trend of revenue collection and relevant factors, such targets are periodically revised by the Department of Revenue.
The observation that "it is time the revenue department used more data instead of using blunt methods of harassment" is too sweeping, uncharitable and contrary to facts. While there could be instances of the department raising untenable demands, these are exceptions rather than the norm. Often such demands are issued on the basis of objections raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), also pointing out short levy. This is more as a measure to protect demands from being time-barred should the department eventually agree with the CAG's findings.
Both on the Central Excise and service tax sides, the anti-evasion wing has been detecting large-scale tax evasion. Unfortunately, such detections do not get adequate publicity, possibly due to the media management skills of tax evaders. The same is true of several cases detected by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on the Customs side, involving corporate entities.
On the matter of avoiding unnecessary appeals, the Central Board of Excise and Customs has already issued guidelines to its field formations. Those not complying with the guidelines should be held accountable and taken to task.
S K Choudhury Bengaluru
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