Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a new platform, "Transparent Taxation Honouring the Honest", which will carry forward the journey of direct tax reforms.
In his address, PM Modi said: "Transparent taxation system is very important. This platform we are launching today will make the tax system system faceless. We are starting a new journey today. New arrangements, new facilities, starting today, strengthen our commitment to Minimum Government, Maximum Governance. This is a big step in the direction of reducing the interference of the government from the life of the countrymen."
He added, "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."
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.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has carried out several major tax reforms in direct taxes in the recent years, a government statement pointed out.
Last year, 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, it said. Dividend distribution tax was also abolished, it added.
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 Income Tax (IT) Department, the statement said.
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, the statement said.
Similarly, to increase the ease of compliance for taxpayers, the IT Department has moved forward with prefilling of income tax returns to make compliance more convenient for individual taxpayers.
Compliance norms for startups have also been simplified, it said.
With a view to provide for 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 and 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, it said.
The IT Department has also made efforts to ease compliances for taxpayers during the COVID-19 pandemic by extending statutory timeliness for filing returns, as also releasing refunds expeditiously to increase liquidity in the hands of taxpayers, the statement pointed out.