In order to make the return filing and assessment process hassle free for taxpayers, the government recently introduced the new ‘Transparent Taxation — Honoring The Honest’ platform. Udit Garg, Founding Member of Goal Teller, an investment planning platform, said while this was a welcome development, but some of the features of the new platform already existed or were already announced in the Budget. He added while the new platform would go a long way to curb corruption in the current system, some room for improvement still existed.
“One big area which is still unattended is the high and complex number of tax compliances and sections that a taxpayer has to attend and navigate. The budget of 2019 and the amendment on August 13 were definite steps in that direction. However, incentives by way of lower tax rates compensating for the benefits of deductions will help people adopt the new regime,” Garg said.
He added the concept of e-assessment was already introduced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget last year, which has now been modified and expanded into 'faceless proceedings'. Guidelines have also been issued by CBDT to the tax department to make structural changes for effective implementation of faceless proceedings.
Garg said that the time barring for ongoing assessments between March 20, 2020 to December 31, 2020 had also already been shifted to March 31, 2021, allowing the ongoing proceedings a period of more than seven months to complete per the faceless regime.
He added the division of the whole structure into four units — assessment, verification, review and technical unit — each having separate functions of their own, would ensure that the biaseness and influence on and by the taxpayer are thrown out of the frame.
“The move would also curb under-the-table transactions that are prevalent in the current system,” he said.
“India has about 1.5 crore individual taxpayers and 5.8 crore individual tax filers and in a country of 130 crore people that is an abysmally low number. Even if we remove people below the poverty line and agriculturalists, the coverage would still be low. Multiple reasons can be attributed to this but one of them is surely the fear in individuals of tax harassment by the authorities. The latest steps by the government will surely go a long way in assuaging these concerns and hopefully increasing tax compliance and tax payments,” Garg concluded.