Panel set up to streamline tax administration

The government has set up a Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) comprising officials and executives from public and private sector agencies and tax authorities for carrying out procedural and structural changes and streamline tax administration in order to bring in trust between income tax officers and the taxpayer, Parthasarathi Shome, advisor to the finance minister, said today.

''Here, we are not focusing on tax policy, legislation. But the focus is on the rules and features and structural reforms in tax administration. That work is going on very intensively (through this commission),'' Shome, who is also the chairman of the commission, said.

He was speaking after releasing a book on service tax authored by P Rajendra Kumar, a member of Society of Auditors, the publisher of the book.

He said the aim of tax administration reform is to enable the income tax department to work out solutions for a ''good tax payer'' so that he does not get ''hampered'' while the taxmen can ''target'' the poor tax payer and use an appropriate yardstick to collect taxes from him.

Besides Shome, the commission has former chairmen of two tax boards, former chief financial officer from IT service provider Tata Consultancy Services and a former vice president for taxation from the Murugappa Group as members.

''It is a mixture of private and public sector,'' Shome said adding that the commission is expected to come out with its first report in May.

''The first report by the commission is supposed to be out by end of May and then in a years' tenure it will give four quarterly reports,'' he said.

Once the recommendations are out, it would be discussed by the tax administration and tax payers, he said.

''Under this process, we will be going to various metros and we have already met officers in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. We are going to have such a meeting in New Delhi. We have also invited Chambers of Commerce, chartered accountants and tax advocates. So, their inputs are also coming in,'' he said.

According to Shome, the raison d'etre for the commission is to bring in transparency in the tax administration and in the collection of taxes as there exists a certain amount of ''distrust'' between the tax department and taxpayers.