4 Feb :Minister of State for Finance, Shri S.S. Palanimanickam has exhorted the Income Tax Department to gear up to newer challenges as tax evasion is becoming more and more sophisticated and cross-border transactions are posing a challenge for safeguarding India’s revenue interests in the face of global tax competition. He was speaking on the occasion of launch of Income Tax Department’s publication ‘Let us Share’ and a public relations website, here today.
Congratulating the Department for this path-breaking initiative, the Minister said that for the first time in its long history the Department is sharing its work with the public. This is in tune with the objectives of the Right to Information Act and a welcome addition to the idea of open governance, he said.
The Minister informed that the Department collected more than Rs. Three lakhs twelve thousand crores last year compared to just Rs. 156 crores in 1956. The direct tax collections last year exceeded those of indirect taxes for the first time. This shift in tax incidence from indirect taxes to direct taxes is in consonance with the trend in the developed economies where the proportion of direct taxes is more than that of indirect taxes, said the Minister.
Appreciating the Department for its sterling performance, Shri Palanimanickam said that despite moderate tax rates and increased threshold, the collections have increased by leaps and bounds. He urged the Department to continue with good performance as it will help the Government to provide first class infrastructure, schools for all children, health of the young and place our economy among the most vibrant economies in the world.
Shri Palanimanickam emphasized that in order to minimize tax evasion, the Income Tax Department has to demonstrate its capacity to reach the tax evaders in a large measure. The Department must ensure that right tax is paid by all and opportunities for evasion are blocked. The Department must also ensure that the honest taxpayer is treated with all the courtesy that he rightfully deserves, the Minister said.
After launching the Departmental PR website, the Revenue Secretary, Shri P.V. Bhide said that this initiative aimed at creating a knowledge bank of the Department’s good practices and orders and sharing it with the public will help in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the Department’s working. He said, “The PR website has put in one place all citizen centric services to create awareness amongst the taxpayers. The site also aims at assembling services relevant to each segment of taxpayers for ease of convenience. Further, there is facility for online tutorials to enable individual and HUF taxpayers. To create awareness amongst the taxpayers, there are a set of taxpayer information series available in the website.”
Shri Bhide expressed hope that the Department’s initiatives will help bridge the communication gap between the Department and the taxpayers and would improve voluntary compliance.
Certificates of Appreciation were presented by the MOS, Revenue Secretary & other dignitaries to the contributors of “Let us Share”.