The biggest litigant in the Government of India
“It is my proud privilege to be part of this momentous occasion in the history of the Income Tax Department, which is celebrating 150 years of Income Tax in
I visited official web site of our “Income Tax Department, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/ , there is a section “What is new”, carrying on an article called “Certificate of Merit given at the function held at New Delhi on celebration of 150 years of Income Tax in India.” Along with an attachment of “EXCERPTS FROM THE SPEECH OF THE FINANCE MINISTER, ON CELEBRATION OF 150 YEARS OF INCOME TAX”, wherein, following lines in
“3. Since 1860 to the present day, the Income Tax Department has traversed over three centuries and has witnessed the collapse of imperial rule in
Recollect the words “three centuries”, in the line.
“One area of concern is litigation with taxpayers.” Yes, the Finance Minister, you are absolutely correct in your concern.
How naïve is the Revenue Department in India till date, is crystal clear in his further words that “Department is filing appeals in a routine manner without careful thought and examination leading to the Department earning the dubious distinction of being the biggest litigant in the Government of India. I have noticed that some of the appeals filed by the Department have been dismissed by the courts on account of gross delays. These issues require a relook at system of legal and judicial management.”. In the same article he also said that “A lot more remains to be done. The Department needs to reinvent itself to meet the challenges of the next 50 years.”
Foremost is, do not we need the Revenue Department to reinvent in presenting itself as a “tax facilitator” “by creating atmosphere conducive to voluntary payment?
“Earlier tax administration enforced laws with intimidation”, the FM is again ruthlessly righteous.
“Every person shall be liable to pay income tax in respect of his total income for the financial year”. This is what Income Tax Act says.
If an individual does not want to get in the trap of earning any income, remain passive, he is not spared; he is liable to tax in the name of “Wealth Tax”, as his assets remain “Unproductive assets”. , in the case when the value of wealth exceeds the threshold limit of Rs.50 Crore.
If the very person makes every endeavour to make productive his unproductive assets and fails to make profits, he will be liable to pay income tax in the name of “Minimum Alternate Tax.”
It makes one happy on reading line by line the “CITIZENS’ CHARTER, of Income Tax Department, 24th July, 2007. A Declaration of our commitment of Excellence in service to Taxpayers.”
The lines under the heading of “We aim” of the said “Citizen’s Charter”, need to be the basic responsibility of the Income Tax Department.
In the disguise of “We aim”, the department grapples for one or other excuse to harass the tax payers. The Revenue Department has projected itself to what it stands in the words of the FM as that the “Department is filing appeals in a routine manner without careful thought and examination leading to the Department earning the dubious distinction of being the biggest litigant in the Government of India.”
It is surprising to realize the missing accountability of the Revenue Department in its approach to the taxpayers, on reading the lines under the above heading “We aim”.
Venkateswara Rao Sapare,