High-level committee set up to consult trade and industry on tax laws

Government has constituted a high-level committee (HLC) to interact with trade and industry on tax laws and ascertain areas where clarity on tax laws is required.

The setting up of the high-level committee is in line with the finance minister's budget announcement of setting up such a committee to review the country's tax laws.

Ashok Lahiri, former chief economic advisor to the finance ministry, is the chairman of the committee, which has Sidhartha Pradhan (retired member, Settlement Commission - Income Tax & Wealth Tax) and Gautam Ray (retired DG (audit) customs and central excise) as members.
 
The HLC will interact with trade and industry on a regular basis and ascertain areas where clarity in tax laws is required.
 
It will give recommendations to the CBDT/CBEC for issuance of appropriate clarifications by way of circulars, instructions etc on tax issues and the CBDT/CBEC will issue the required clarifications, circulars, instructions etc within a period of 2 months from the date of receipt of recommendations of the HLC.
 
The HLC will be assisted by two nodal officers not below the rank of joint secretary / commissioner, one each from income tax and customs and central excise.

The choice of nodal officers will be recommended by CBDT and CBEC, but their appointment will be made with the approval of the revenue secretary.
 
The HLC will set its own procedures for regulating its work and may consult experts and tax professionals from outside as it may consider appropriate. The HLC may also invite officers from department of revenue, including CBEC and CBDT, and other government departments/agencies for interaction, as may be necessary.
 
The chairman and two members of the committee will function on part time basis.
 
The term of the committee shall be for one year from the date of its constitution, subject to further extensions, as may be considered appropriate by the department of revenue of the finance ministry.
 
The committee will submit reports on a half-yearly basis to the finance minister.