Taxmen Who Harass Honest Taxpayers Will Be Punished: PM Narendra Modi
Responding to taxpayers' harassment by officials from the income-tax (I-T) department, prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi said he has asked revenue secretary to come up with measures to ensure that honest taxpayers are not harassed and those who commit minor or procedural violations are not subjected to disproportionate or excessive action, says a report.
 
In an interview with the Economic Times, the PM was quoted as saying, "...it is a fact that some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assesses or by taking excessive action for minor or procedural violations. We have recently taken the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials, and we will not tolerate this type of behaviour."
 
PM Modi was responding to increasing discontent among taxpayers with tax terrorism or taxtortion. 
 
Recently, TV Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education and former board member of Infosys, who is a diehard supporter of the Modi government and its policies, has been quite vocal about tax terrorism since the past several years.
 
 
 
Speaking with the Times of India, Mr Pai, had said, “Many people told me that when they go to the I-T department, they are told that they better pay up. The officers say they have a target to achieve. I don’t know if there is an incentive to reach the target, They tell you to go and appeal in the court. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) goes on putting pressure (on the officers) and they say, if you don’t meet the target, I will transfer you. What will the officers do? They are helpless too.”
 
On Friday, Moneylife's managing editor Sucheta Dalal started a thread on Twitter sharing tax terrorism being faced by several taxpayers for cases as old as 10 years. 
 
 
Mr Pai tagged the PM, finance minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman, railway minister Piyush Goyal and requested their intervention to protect honest taxpayers.
 
 
Reacting on the thread, Yashwant Deshmukh, another die-hard supporter of PM Modi has this to say…
 
 
Taxation in India has always been draconian, but this harshness and distrust of everyone and treating all as criminals has increased in past five years! "Isn’t it an irony that a series of babus on government pension have unleashed such mindless tax penalties on hard working and honest professionals who don’t get much from the state - no social security, only penalties and threats? When and where will it end?" Ms Dalal had asked in one of her tweets.
 
 
In the interview, PM Modi said, "In order to reduce litigation and to effectively reduce taxpayer grievances and litigation, the monetary limits for filing of appeals by the tax authorities have been increased significantly. This limit used to be Rs25 lakh for appeal in Supreme Court, Rs20 lakh for High Courts and Rs10 lakh for income tax appellate tribunals. In the last one year, these limits with respect to income tax cases have been increased to Rs2 crore for SC, Rs1 crore for HCs and Rs50 lakh for appellate tribunals. This will reduce pendency in higher courts and will allow departments to concentrate on litigation involving complex legal issues and high tax effect." 
 
"The post of member (taxpayer services) will be activated in both the CBIC and CBDT by posting a very senior officer for this charge. They will be responsible for improving taxpayer services and will keep a watch on grievance redressal," the PM was quoted by the newspaper.  
 
In the 2017 Budget, the then FM Arun Jaitley had given unbridled powers to tax officials under the guise of going after black money. The worry over amendments to the I-T Act unleashing tax terrorism had been repeatedly voiced by chartered accountants after the demonetisation exercise began on 8 November 2016; the Union Budget only brought the fears out in the open more vociferously.
 
The amendment to sub-sections (1) and (1A) of Section 132 of the I-T Act is one that had caused serious panic; it has a retrospective effect going back to 1962. It says that the tax officers will not have to disclose “to any person, authority or the Appellate Tribunal” why it has “reason to believe” that there has been tax evasion and there is a basis for ordering and conducting a search and seizure operation.
 
Further, sub-section (1) of Section 132A provides that the tax authority, based on suspicion or ‘reason to believe’, can “requisition from some other officer or authority to deliver books of account, documents or assets of the assessee to the income tax authority so authorised.” This change will have retrospective effect going back to 1 October 1975.
 
As feared by taxpayers and written by Moneylife in February 2017, several cases are now emerging to highlight tax terrorism or taxtortion by the authorities. The issue that honest taxpayers is facing is more severe in nature including prosecution.
 
The reason is these taxpayers have on their own have rectified the error in returns and also paid the penalty. But now eight to 10 years down the line, they are receiving notices. 
 
PM Modi, in the interview, has tried to assure taxpayers. He was quoted as saying, "For the vast majority of income-tax payers, considerable progress has been made-today refunds are credited to bank accounts automatically within weeks without any need for the taxpayer to go and pursue it with the officer. This has benefited literally crores of people and many have appreciated this. We are starting faceless assessment of income-tax return. This will eliminate human interface to a large extent."
 
With the intervention by none other than the PM himself, we only hope that the taxpayers will not be subjected to tax terrorism or taxtortion by the taxmen henceforth. In addition, there will be some respite to those honest taxpayers who have received notices from the I-T department for old cases.
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    COMMENTS

    C K RAMACHANDRAN

    4 days ago

    It is not enough to activate the post of Member Tax services. It should be placed under department of economic affairs or some other department of government than d/revenue. This is on the analogy of the commissioner for railway safety which is not under the railway ministry but under the m/civil aviation. Only such a step will ensure that the post is not remotely controlled by Revenue.

    Liju Philip

    1 week ago

    Say one thing and do another is the mantra of this government. The left hand doesnt know what the right hand says or does. And the PM behaves as if he didnt know that his tax officers were terrorising people. All this when his own FM made the rules to make the tax terrorism more severe. As if the PM didnt go thru the budget papers before they were presented. Just hot air for his bhakts to lap up.

    Jagdish Lalwani

    1 week ago

    Moindas pau sir shd join poltix ..we need him..he is so enlitened electrical .poerfol..why our givt ignores such steelwarts..all grt economists run away to america for deliverin there ..lecture ..they should be adopted here by gourmet people

    Jagdish Lalwani

    1 week ago

    My cousin sis who workd in small hospital for 4000 to 7000 pmsalary full life got 4.5 lakh as corpus on retirmnt..that dobled tp 11 lakh aftr 10 years n now..viola..income tax notice is served on her..askin how much tax is paid or due..poir lady was in africa jungles wth her son ..i rushed to tax dept n clarified...is this a jok...people i see wilful defaulters eatin 400 crores n movin around in new cars...n common poir man gettin tax notice..what happened to promise of bringin bak forign acoount moni of politicians..i think they wan it now from common man

    Mukunda Deka

    2 weeks ago

    EXCESS OF ANYTHING IS BAD.
    ONE SHOULD NOT BE HARASSED IN THE INTEREST OF FULFILLING COLLECTION TARGET.

    BETTER A DRIVE BE GIVEN TO COLLECT BLACK MONEY KEPT BY BLACKMARKETERS AT FOREIGN BANK. TEN YEARS TARGET WILL BE COLLECTED. ALSO THE BUSINESSMEN WHO ESCAPED FOR FOREIGN LANDS AFTER SINKING OUR BANKI.G SYSTEM. ENROL MORE OFFICERS FOR THIS COLLECTION.

    P M Ravindran

    2 weeks ago

    Its not merely taxmen who are terrorists in government. For the layman even the Village Office assistant is a terrorist, no less. The unfortunate thing is there are enough laws to deal with the delinquent and corrupt but they seem to be consigned to the dustbins. For example Sections 127, 128 and 129 provide for punishing public servants with 3 to 7 years of imprisonment for even falsifying documents but has it ever been invoked in independent India? Compulsorily retiring a few officials is hardly any consolation, though a necessary first step. A couple of years back all the members of the IAS in Kerala decided to go on strike demanding the removal of the Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas. The CM then listed out the occasions when he had denied permission to prosecute some of them. The strike call was withdrawn but non co operation continued till Jacob Thomas was shifted. And there after started the revenge of the babus. Sufice to say that Jacob Thomas was suspended and it lasted for more than 18 months. The CAT has now directed the Government to reinstate him immediately. It is now almost a month since the CAT order and we are waiting for its compliance.

    Deepak Narain

    2 weeks ago

    My experience is that the Tax authorities deducted tax again from the due refund even when the taxpayer had paid the due tax instantly while submitting her return the previous year. Since then, she has represented to everybody from PM downwards and they close the case every time on flimsy grounds after earlier committing that they were sending the refund.

    Ramesh Poapt

    2 weeks ago

    good .....if implemented!

    ashi kumar mohanty

    2 weeks ago

    Good job Sir.I salute for this great daring voice in front of media.

    How to Handle Doubtful Issues On Income Tax Return Filing: CBDT Issues Clarifications
    Although the income tax (I-T) department had notified tax return forms for assessment year 2019-20 (FY2018-19), and released software utilities for filling (ITRs) online, taxpayers have been asking several queries. Finally, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has come out with a detailed clarification in question and answer format that tries to clear doubts raised by taxpayers. 
     
    Here are the queries and clarification issued by CBDT for e-filing tax returns…
     
    Question: I am a non-resident Indian (NRI). The taxpayer identification number (TIN) is not allotted in my jurisdiction of residence. How do I report the same in the column on “residential status”?
     
    Answer: In case TIN has not been allotted in the jurisdiction of residence, the passport number should be mentioned instead of TIN. Name of the country in which the passport was issued should be mentioned in the column “jurisdiction of residence”.
     
    Question: I am a director in a foreign company which does not have permanent account number (PAN). How do I report the same against the column “whether you were director in a company at any time during the previous year?” 
     
    Answer: You should choose “foreign company” in the drop-down provided for “type of company”. In such case, PAN is not mandatory. However, PAN should be mentioned, if such foreign company has been allotted a PAN.
     
    Question: Whether an individual who is a non-resident, or resident but not ordinary resident (RoNR) is also required to disclose details of his directorship in a foreign company which does not have any income accruing or arising in India?
     
    Answer: Yes.
     
    Question: I have held shares of a company during the previous year, which are listed in a recognized stock exchange outside India. Whether I am required to report the requisite details against the column “Whether you have held unlisted equity shares at any time during the previous year?” 
     
    Answer: No.
     
    Question: I have held equity shares of a company which were previously listed in a recognised stock exchange, but delisted subsequently, and became unlisted. How do I report PAN of company in the column “whether you have held unlisted equity shares at any time during the previous year”?
     
    Answer: In such cases, PAN of the company may be furnished if it is available. In case PAN of delisted company cannot be obtained, you may enter a default value in place of PAN, as “NNNNN0000N”.
     
    Question: In case unlisted equity shares are acquired or transferred by way of gift, will, amalgamation, merger, demerger, or bonus issue etc., how to report the “cost of acquisition” and “sale consideration” in the relevant column?
     
    Answer: You may enter zero or the appropriate value against “cost of acquisition” or “sale consideration” in such cases. Please note that the details of unlisted equity shares held during the year are required only for the purpose of reporting. The quantitative details entered in this column are not relevant for the purpose of computation of total income or tax liability.
     
    Question: I hold shares in an unlisted foreign company which has been duly reported in the Schedule FA. Whether I am required to report the same again in the column “Whether you have held unlisted equity shares at any time during the previous year?”
     
    Answer: Yes.
     
    Question: I have held unlisted equity shares as stock-in-trade of business during the previous year. Whether I have to report the same in the column “Whether you have held unlisted equity shares at any time during the previous year?”
     
    Answer: Yes.
     
    Question: Please clarify whether holding of equity shares of a co-operative bank or credit societies, which are unlisted, are required to be reported?
     
    Answer: The details of equity shareholding in any entity which is registered under the Companies Act, and is not listed on any recognised stock exchange, is only required to be reported.
     
    Question: I have sold land and building to a non-resident. Whether I need to report the PAN of buyer in the table A1/B1 in schedule capital gain (CG)?
     
    Answer: As mentioned in ITR form, quoting of PAN of buyer is mandatory only if tax is deducted under section 194-IA or is mentioned in the documents.
     
    Question: I am resident and have sold land and building situated outside India. Whether I need to report the details of property and identity of buyer in Schedule CG?
     
    Answer: The details of property and name of buyer should invariably be mentioned. However, quoting of PAN of buyer is mandatory only if tax is deducted under section 194-IA or is mentioned in the documents.
     
    Question: Whether it is mandatory to provide international securities identification number (ISIN) details and scrip-wise computation of long term capital gains (LTCG) arising on sale of shares/ mutual funds units on which securities transaction tax (STT) has been paid?
     
    Answer: The tools for computation of LTCG under sections 112A and 115AD have been provided in the departmental utility for the convenience of taxpayers. These are optional tools designed for computation of the final figures of LTCG, which is then populated in the respective items in Schedule CG. Alternatively, the taxpayers can themselves compute the aggregate long term gain or loss manually, and input the same directly in the respective items in Schedule CG.
     
    Question: An unlisted company is required to furnish details of assets and liabilities in the Schedule AL-1 of ITR-6? Please clarify whether details of assets held as stock-in-trade of business are also required to be reported therein.
     
    Answer: In case jewellery and motor vehicle is held as stock-in-trade of business, the drop-down value “stock-in-trade” should be selected against the field “purpose for which used”, while filling up details in the relevant table (table I or table H). In such cases, only the aggregate values are required to be filled up, and the particular details of each asset held as stock-in-trade is not required to be reported.
     
    Question: I hold foreign assets during the previous year which have been duly reported in the Schedule FA. Whether I am required to report such foreign asset again in the Schedule AL (if applicable)?
     
    Answer: Yes.
     
    Question: An unlisted company is required to furnish details of shareholding as at the end of previous year in the Schedule SH-1 of ITR-6. Please clarify whether these details are required to be furnished in case of an unlisted foreign company.
     
    Answer: Not required.
     
    Question: An unlisted company is required to furnish details of assets and liabilities in the Schedule AL-1 of ITR-6. Please clarify whether these details are required to be furnished in case of an unlisted foreign company.
     
    Answer: Not required.
     
    Question: Please clarify whether a farmer producer company as defined in section 581A of Companies Act, 1956 is required to furnish details of shareholding in the Schedule SH-1 of ITR-6?
     
    Answer: No. However, please ensure to tick the option 'Yes' against the item “whether the company is a producer company as defined in section 581A of Companies Act, 1956?” in Part-A General.
     
    Question: A company is required to disclose break-up of all payments and receipts during the year, in foreign currency, as per Schedule FD of ITR-6 (if it is not required to get the accounts audited u/s 44AB). Please clarify whether only the receipts/payments related to business operations in India are required to be reported in Schedule FD?
     
    Answer: Yes. In Schedule FD, the break-up of receipts and payments in foreign currency is required to be reported only in respect of business operations in India.
     
    Question: In schedule tax deduction at source (TDS), one is required to enter the head under which corresponding receipt has been offered. In some cases, TDS is deducted by the payer in current year, but corresponding income is to be offered in future years. How to fill up Schedule TDS in such cases?
     
    Answer: In such cases, no TDS credit should be claimed under the column “in own hands” for the current year. If this is done, the column “Corresponding receipt offered” is greyed-off and is not required to be filled up.
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    Leniency Allowed for Start-ups in Income-tax Scrutiny over Angel Tax
    In what is expected to boost investor sentiment, the income Tax (I-T) department has directed its officers to accept the declarations of companies which were tagged as start-ups in the middle of a scrutiny for angel tax.
     
    Angel tax refers to I-T payable on capital raised by unlisted firms by issuing shares where the share price is considered in excess of the fair market value.
     
    The excess realisation is treated as income and hence, taxable under Section 56 (2) (viib) of the Act. The government had earlier exempted companies tagged as start-ups by the department of promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT). 
     
    However, many companies, which were yet to be considered start-ups, were under I-T scrutiny. The present clarification makes the rules clear for these companies with regards to angel tax.
     
    The tax department issued the circular on Wednesday laying down procedures to be followed by assessing officers in case of start-ups which were recognised by DPIIT in the middle of an I-T scrutiny. Procedures have been also issued for unrecognised start-ups. 
     
    "The tax department has issued the procedures to be followed by tax officers. So, if a case is related to a company which was recognised as a start-up later on, the tax officer will not pursue the demand in respect of Section 56(2) (viib) which is Angel Tax," a tax consultant said. 
     
    As per the circular, a start-up which has not got DPIIT approval and the case is selected for scrutiny on grounds of applicability of Section 56 (2) (viib) or any other issue, inquiry or verification in such cases shall be carried out by the assessing officer as per due procedure and approval of the supervisory officer. 
     
    "Directions of the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) that the tax officer will have to summarily accept the contentions of the start-up on valuation of its shares shall provide the relief intended to be provided to the start-ups," said Rakesh Nangia, Managing Partner, Nangia Advisors. 
     
    "While the recognised start-ups stand relieved, the ones that are yet to receive a nod from the DPIIT may still have to face the inquiry from tax officers and the procedure to be followed by the tax officers in such cases would be crucial to note," he said.
     
    The tax department had earlier come out with a set of rules to provide relief to start-ups from tax demands under Section 56 (2) (viib) of the Income Tax Act.
     
    The tax department, in its circular on 7th August, said that there have been instances of notices being sent under Section 143(2) /147 by assessing officers to start-up companies before the DPIIT notification since February this year which are currently pending for disposal. 
     
    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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    COMMENTS

    Jagdish Lalwani

    1 week ago

    All corrupt mus be afrd of god in skies if they wil go kaal maharaj wil audit all their balance sheets..showin only hevy liablity..n asset disapeared..there wil single windo wth kaall devta holdin all guilty from collar n punishin wth heavy penalty interest 24 pc p.a..and no return to earth..his family wil get notices from sky

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