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Task force on direct tax set up

New Delhi, Sept. 9: The government today set up a task force on direct taxes for rationalising and simplifying procedures while strengthening enforcement to improve revenue mopup.

The task force headed by Vijay Kelkar, advisor to the finance minister, would submit its recommendation in a draft consultation paper by October end and a final report by December 15 after incorporating feedback from public.

The recommendations of the task force would be considered by the government before framing the Budget for 2003-04. “The objective is to use the state-of-the-art technology to adopt best international practices so as to reduce compliance costs,” a finance ministry statement said .

The terms of reference of the task force would be to work out ways for simplification and rationalisation of tax laws and procedures to minimise exemptions and remove anomalies while improving equity. It will strive to improve services to taxpayers to reduce compliance cost, impart transparency and facilitate voluntary compliance, while redesigning procedures for strengthening enforcement to improve compliance.

The 11-member task force would also be represented by economist Ashok Lahiri, former chief commissioner of income tax S. N. L. Agarwala, advocate of Mumbai High Court Arvind Sonde, P. C. Parmar and Dipankar Chaterjee (chartered accountants), Omkar Goswami (CII), Urjit Patel (IDFC), S. Ananthanarayanan (Amco Batteries) and T V Mohandas Pai (Infosys). A. J. Majumdar, joint secretary in CBDT, has been appointed as the member secretary.

Total tax assessees

The total number of tax assessees in the country is expected to touch five crore by 2003-04 from the present three crore, Union minister of state for finance G. N. Ramachandran said today.

“In the last fiscal alone there was an addition of at least 57 lakh taking the total number to three crore as on March 31, this year,” he said.

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