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India Aiming For Simplified Tax System, Singh Reveals

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

18 December 2002


Speaking on Tuesday, Indian Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh revealed that the government is seeking to simplify the tax system and to scrutinise more closely the interaction between tax officers and taxpayers.

The Times of India newspaper quoted Mr Singh as announcing, in response to concerns expressed over the treatment of several wealthy industrialists by the tax authority, that:

'We are bringing in uniform rates and simplification, and to address the problem of discretionary power of [the] authorities, we are working towards elimination of [the] interface between citizens or taxpayers and the authorities.'

He went on to add that: 'The three great weaknesses of the tax system are the tax administration, discretionary authority of tax officers and the absence of computerisation,' and bemoaned the fact that at around 3% of GDP, direct tax collection levels are nearly half of indirect taxes, which amount to 6% of GDP.

'It should have been the reverse,' he observed yesterday.


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