New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched ‘Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest' platform which will strengthen efforts of "reforming and simplifying our tax system".

The scheme includes three direct tax reforms - faceless assessment, faceless appeal and taxpayers’ charter. While faceless assessment and taxpayers’ charter are implemented from today, faceless appeal will come into force from September 25, said the prime minister.

"Banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured, funding the unfunded has been our motto for the last 6 years. Today a new journey is starting in a way - 'Honoring The Honest'," said PM Modi at the virtual event. 

"This platform has big reforms such as faceless assessment, faceless appeal, and taxpayers charter. Faceless assessment and taxpayers charter come in force from today, whereas faceless appeal service will be available from September 25," he added.

The prime minister emphasised the role of tax compliance in nation-building and said the government is following a policy-driven governance model.

"The emphasis is on making every rule-law, policy people-centric, and public friendly. This is the use of the new governance model and the country is getting its results," he said.

The prime minister said the focus was on "seamless, painless and faceless tax regime".

The virtual event was witnessed by various chambers of commerce, trade associations, chartered accountants' associations and "eminent" taxpayers.

PM Modi said that the new tax system is going to become faceless and this will give a belief of fairness and fearlessness to taxpayers.

"The trend of structural reforms in the country has reached a new stage today. Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest, this new system of the 21st-century tax system has been launched today," he said.

Under the faceless assessment scheme, there would be no physical interface between an assessing officer and an assessee. The plan was first introduced in the Union Budget 2019 by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The 'taxpayer charter' will will ensure trust between a taxpayer and the administration and reduce harassment, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 

The income tax department has simplified compliance norms for startups and has moved forward with the pre-filling of income tax returns to make compliance more convenient for individual taxpayers.

Currently, most of the functions of the Income Tax Department starting from the filing of the return, processing of returns, issuance of refunds, and assessment are performed in the electronic mode without any human interface.

According to a release of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has carried out several major tax reforms in direct taxes in recent years.

Last year, the corporate tax rates were reduced from 30 per cent to 22 per cent and for new manufacturing units, the rates were reduced to 15 per cent. Dividend distribution tax was also abolished.

The focus of the tax reforms has been on reduction in tax rates and on simplification of direct tax laws. Several initiatives have been taken by the CBDT for bringing in efficiency and transparency in the functioning of the IT Department. This includes bringing more transparency in official communication through the newly introduced Document Identification Number (DIN) wherein every communication of the Department would carry a computer generated unique document identification number.

Similarly, to increase the ease of compliance for taxpayers, IT Department has moved forward with the prefilling of income tax returns to make compliance more convenient for individual taxpayers. Compliance norms for startups have also been simplified.

With a view to provide for the resolution of pending tax disputes the IT Department also brought out the Direct Tax "Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020" under which declarations for settling disputes are being filed currently. To effectively reduce taxpayer grievances/litigation, the monetary thresholds for filing of departmental appeals in various appellate Courts have been raised.

Several measures have been taken to promote digital transactions and electronic modes of payment. The IT department is committed to take the initiatives forward and has also made efforts to ease compliances for taxpayers during the COVID times by extending statutory timeliness for filing returns as also releasing refunds expeditiously to increase liquidity in the hands of taxpayers.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta