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India Sets Up Tax Simplification Panel

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

29 October 2015

The Government of India announced on October 26 that it has constituted a committee tasked with recommending ways to reduce disputes between corporate taxpayers and the tax authority and improve the overall tax framework.

The ten-member committee is chaired by former Delhi High Court judge R.V. Easwar and includes experts from the legal, tax, and finance professions. Under its terms of reference, the committee is charged with identifying provisions and phrases in the Income Tax Act 1961 that are leading to litigation due to differing interpretations. It will also propose changes aimed at simplifying tax compliance and bringing about more legal certainty, but without "substantially" impacting on the tax base or tax revenue.

The Government has requested that the committee deliver its first batch of recommendations by January 31, 2016. Legislative amendments based on these recommendations could then be announced in next year's annual Budget.

The new committee is just one of a number of initiatives launched by the Government to improve the tax environment and win back the trust of investors following a series of high-profile disputes between the tax authorities and multinational taxpayers. Earlier this month, senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India met representatives from more than ten foreign portfolio investors to discuss ways to ease the burden of doing business in India. And in September, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Aadhia began a series of "detailed" meetings with business associations and representatives of industry on tax policy.

TAGS: environment | compliance | Finance | tax | business | tax compliance | India | budget | tax authority | transfer pricing | Tax

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