Taxation
Government turning tax payer friendly
New Delhi : Terming tax disputes as a scourge of tax-friendly regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, presenting the budget for 2016-17 on Monday, unveiled a new dispute resolution mechanism to minimise litigation.
 
He also said that Income Tax officials will be responsible for higher interest payout if there was a delay in implementing the orders of Appellate authority.
 
He said there were around 300,000 tax cases pending with the First Appellate Authority involving a tax dispute of around Rs.550,000 crore.
 
As per the new dispute resolution mechanism unveiled by Jaitley, a tax payer who has an appeal pending as of Friday before the Commissioner (Appeals) can settle his case by paying the disputed tax and interest up to the date of assessment.
 
There will be no penalty in respect of income tax cases with a disputed tax up to Rs.10 lakh.
 
Accoriding to Jaitley, the cases with disputed tax exceeding Rs.10 lakh will be subjected to only 25 percent of the minimum of the imposable penalty for both direct and indirect taxes.
 
He said any pending appeal against a penalty order can also be settled by paying 25 percent of the minimum of the imposable penalty.
 
However, certain categories of persons including those charged with criminal offences under specific Acts are proposed to be barred from this scheme.
 
With special reference to the government's assurance of not to create retrospectively fresh tax liability, Jaitley reiterated the government's commitment to provide a stable and predictable taxation regime and not create fresh tax liability retrospectively.
 
He proposed one-time scheme of dispute resolution for past cases ongoing under retrospective amendment.
 
One can settle the case by paying only the tax arrears in which case liability of the interest and penalty shall be waived. This is subject to agreeing to withdraw any pending case lying in any Court or Tribunal or any proceeding for arbitration, mediation under Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPA).
 
Identifying that levy of heavy penalty as a cause for a large number of disputes, Jaitley proposed to modify the scheme of penalty by providing different categories of misdemeanour with graded penalty and thereby substantially reducing the discretionary power of the tax officers.
 
The penalty rates will now be 50 percent of tax in case of underreporting of income and 200 percent of the tax where there is misreporting of facts. Remission of penalty is also proposed where taxes are paid and appeal is not filed.
 
Quantification of disallowance of expenditure relatable to exempt income in terms of Section 14A of the Income Tax Act is another issue led to number of disputes. Hence, it has been proposed to rationalize formula in Rule 8D governing such quantification.
 
Jaitley said the Income Tax department was also issuing instruction making it mandatory for the assessing officer to grant stay of demand once the assessee pays 15 percent of the disputed demand while the appeal is pending before Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals).
 
Jaitley also said the government has accepted many of the recommendations of Justice Easwar Committee.
 
To make the Income Tax officials responsible, Jaitley said the government will pay nine percent interest on where there is a delay in implementing the Appellate orders beyond 90 days.
 
"The officers who delay it will be accountable for this loss to the government," Jaitley said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Priyanka second most searched celeb in Oscar searches: Google
New Delhi : While India made it to the top 10 markets for searches related to the 88th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles on Sunday, it was actor Priyanka Chopra who was the second most searched celebrity in India after Hollywood actor Leonardo Dicaprio, internet search giant Google said on Monday.
 
India although contributing about two percent of the global searches for the Oscars, still made it to the top 10 markets for Oscar searches, the company said in a statement.
 
As much as 50 percent of all Oscar searches worldwide originated from the US. 
 
Markets that made up to the next 30 percent of the search share included Britain, Canada, Australia and Spain. 
 
"Compared to 2015, this year has seen an unprecedented 70 percent year-on-year growth in queries for the Oscars. January 2016 saw two times spike in searches in comparison to December 2015," the company said in a statement.
 
The top searches for Oscars 2016 from India included best picture, best actor, best actress and best director, Google said.
 
The top searched nominees in the best picture category were "The Revenant", "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Martian", "Room", "Bridge of Spies", "Spotlight" and "The Big Short".
 
For Indian fans, Leonardo DiCaprio emerged as the most popular nominee in the race for best actor, followed by Matt Damon (The Martian). 
 
Incidentally, DiCaprio also emerged as the most searched best actor nominee across the US.
 
Among the best actress nominees, Cate Blanchett (Carol) was the most searched nominee followed by Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Brie Larson (Room), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years). 
 
In the US, the two best searched nominees in this category were Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence
 
"In 2016, searches around the Oscars are trending to be the top query worldwide in the art and entertainment category", Google added. 
 
The same trend was seen in India as well. All varieties of queries were typed by the users -- around the awards, award dates and nominations, Google said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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PSEs to divest assets for investing in new projects
New Delhi : The government would encourage the central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to divest individual assets like land and manufacturing units to release their asset value for investing in new projects, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Monday.
 
"We will encourage CPSEs to divest individual assets like land, manufacturing units to release their asset value for making investment in new projects," Jaitley said in the Lok Saba, presenting the Union Budget for fiscal 2016-17.
 
Asserting that assets of the enterprises have to be leveraged for generating resources for investment in new projects, Jaitely told lawmakers that a new policy for management of government investments and strategic sale has been approved.
 
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will identify the enterprises for strategic sale.
 
The Ayog was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 as the country's new policy think-tank in place of the erstwhile Planning Commission.
 
Declaring that the disinvestment department would be renamed the department of investment and public asset management (Dipam), the minister said a new approach would be adopted for efficient management of investments in the PSEs.
 
"We will also address issues such as capital restructuring, dividend, bonus shares, etc.," Jaitley affirmed in his 100-minute long speech in English while seated.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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