The two day "Rajswa Gyansangam- Annual Conference of Tax Administrators-2016” concluded here yesterday. "Rajswa Gyansangam” was held in national capital on 16th& 17th June,2016.It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in the morning on 16th June,2016 and marked a new height in the generation of innovative ideas and opened new frontiers for the tax administrators. The Prime Minister Shri Modi stressed that facilitation should be the core of the tax ecosystem and the fear of the law rather than the law enforcer should be the maxim on which tax administrators should work. While acknowledging the significant role of revenue collection in the growth and development of the country, he exalted the revenue officers to achieve high standards in taxpayer friendly services towards compliant tax payers. At the same time, Prime Minister asked them to knock on the doors of the non-tax payers so as to increase the number of taxpayers. He asked the Income Tax Department to widen the tax base and take suitable action against the non-filers and tax evaders.
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi emphasised that “RAPID” (Revenue, Accountability, Probity, Information, Digitisation) should become the cornerstone of tax architecture.
Later, the Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley also interacted extensively with the officers of the two Boards during two separate Sessions on 16th June, 2016. He highlighted the fact that the Indian economy is in a transformational phase and emphasised the need to take advantage of the global changes that are reshaping the world economy. He further stressed that India is bound to become a major manufacturing hub of the world ; in this regard, reforms such as “GST” and a modern non adversarial tax regimen are crucial to catapult the share of manufacturing sector to 25% of GDP. The Minister of State for Finance, Shri Jayant Sinha delivered the valedictory address on the evening of 17th June, 2016.
A joint session of CBDT and CBEC was addressed by renowned novelist Chetan Bhagat on “Taxing with Love”. He suggested that the tax departments should treat the tax payers as its “customers” and a tax paying culture should be inculcated in the country by honouring the top taxpayers. He also gave certain practical solutions for simplification of forms and user friendly website.
Separate Technical sessions were held by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) & Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC). The Technical Sessions of CBDT over the two day period covered wide ranging subjects like Tax Payer Services, New Initiatives in E- Governance, Exchange of Information with foreign jurisdictions, Investigation into Undisclosed Foreign Assets, Income Declaration Scheme 2016, Litigation Management & Dispute Resolution, Scheme for Paperless Assessments, Promoting Accountability & Service Orientation etc.
On the CBEC side, the deliberations covered subjects like analysis of revenue trends, update on GST, strategy to mitigate litigation, expansion of digital footprint, facilitation of trade, impact of WTO TFA and standardization of processes and dissemination of knowledge to officers at the cutting edge.
The CBEC also conducted a taxpayer survey in association with FICCI/KPMG which was released. The survey brought-out several specific suggestions; significantly it also revealed that 72% of the respondents felt a perceptible change in the policies of CBEC.
A Panel discussion was conducted where Chairman, Quality Council of India Sh. Adil Zainulbhai, Ms. Rama Bijapurkar, Market Analyst and Ms.Shalini Narayan, Social media expert discussed the ways and means to improve the brand image of Customs and Excise Department, wherein the need for the department to “walk the talk” and engage with the stakeholders through use of social media was stressed.
The Conference was extremely productive. The take-aways from the Conference on the CBEC side are:-
- Need for preparation for roll-out of GST with focus on IT and increased capacity building through training of officers.
- Need to focus on Dispute Resolution: Identify 20 topmost litigated issues and examine from policy perspective whether any intervention is required.
- Review powers of adjudication & enhance them for speedier disposal of adjudication
- Issuance of a master circular – review all existing circulars in the Central Excise , rescind redundant ones and finalise one comprehensive circular.
- The Customs Single Window to develop Integrated Risk management System combining the risk parameters of participating Government agencies to aid in faster Custom clearances.
- Strengthen Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme and target to bring 1000 AEO from current 31. This should significantly improve ease of doing business
- Simplification of procedures for write off of tax arrears
- Publication of details of cases which have been withdrawn.( This is in terms of FICCI/KPMG survey. )
- Replication of Good practices of the various field formations throughout the country.
- Dedicated attention on augmentation of infrastructure for the tax payer and tax administrators.
- Examine the findings of FICCI-KPMG survey for suitable policy changes.
- Focus on at least two infrastructural residential projects to meet the needs of young officers -Dwarka in New Delhi and CIDCO flats in Mumbai
On the CBDT side, the following action points were identified:
- Organizing the jurisdictions in the Department on functional lines along with periodic performance review by supervisory officers.
- Further consultations with field officers to prescribe roles and responsibilities at all levels.
- Reduce litigation and provide alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Examine the language of the communications from CPC on processing to make them enhance easy comprehension and avoid unnecessary appeals.
- Creating a “Litigation Management Corner” on website of all Pr. CCsIT to provide information on High Court orders to avoid filing of appeal on settled issues in High Court.
- Increase voluntary acceptance of paperless assessment, by pro-active engagement with all stakeholders through advertising and awareness campaigns including through the departmental website.
- Upgradation of infrastructure like computers, scanners, Wifi, etc for assessing officers.
- The Pr.CCsIT to ensure that all their assessing officers are allotted dedicated and secure official email account by 30.06.2016 for communication with the taxpayers for e-assessment.
- E-assessments will be fast-tracked as an incentive to the taxpayers to opt for e-assessment.
- The Pr. CCsIT to send construction proposals for 57 vacant lands in their jurisdictions within three months to address the shortage of space. Proposals for purchase of ready-build office/ residential space may also be expedited.
- Donating surplus old steel almirahs to schools/ colleges will be examined by the Board on reference made by Pr. CCsIT.