Easwar panel set up to improve tax laws

28 October 2015

To simplify income tax laws, the government on Tuesday set up a committee under former Delhi High Court judge R V Easwar to identify clauses that lead to litigations and suggest modifications to bring predictability and certainty in tax laws.

The 10-member panel has been asked to submit a preliminary report by 31 January, so that some of its recommendations may be incorporated in the Budget for 2016-17.

The committee has been asked "to study and identify the provisions and phrases in the (Income Tax) Act which are leading to litigation due to different interpretations''.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the main idea behind setting up the panel is to make the I-T Act simpler.

"We have, over the last few months, been resolving a lot of past issues and now time has come to look at some provisions of the I-T Act to look at how their drafting quality can be improved in order to avoid ambiguity so that everybody is certain as to what the Act itself says," he said.

Also, the panel will study and identify the provisions which are impacting the ease of doing business as well as identify the areas and provisions of the Act for simplification in the light of the existing jurisprudence.

The terms of reference of the committee also include to give suggestions on "alternatives and modifications to the existing provisions and areas so identified to bring about predictability and certainty in tax laws without substantial impact on the tax base and revenue collection".

"We have constituted a committee to simplify the provisions of the I-T Act. The committee would be headed by Justice Eshwar who was the chairman of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)? and judge of the High Court in Delhi.

"It has several experts both from government and private sector in it and this committee will be doing an ongoing study from time to time.

"So, as and when it keeps giving one bundle of suggestion with regard to simplification, we will examine them and whichever are found acceptable, we will try and simplify those provisions of the I-T Act," he said.

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