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  • Sep 23, 2019
  • Income Tax department: Efficient, but not really effective

    The months of August and September have brought both good as well as bad news for the Income Tax Department. August started poorly. VG Siddhartha’s suicide note suggested that the harassment that he faced from the department was one of the reasons for breaking his will to live. The department was quick to respond; officers who dealt with his case were only doing their duty when they attached the shares of Coffee Day Enterprises, the holding company of Café Coffee Day, the enormously successful café chain he founded. The mood in the industry lightened perceptibly when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day address to the nation, signalled a policy shift by the government: Wealth creators, he pointed out, deserve our respect and encouragement. “A mindset change is needed,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated to tax officers a few days later.

  • Sep 23, 2019
  • Income Tax Return: How taxpayers need to respond to e-assessments

    The faceless and nameless e-assessment initiative was launched by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to reduce visits by taxpayers to tax offices and their interface with the taxman, thereby bringing anonymity in proceedings using technology in order to ensure that vested interests do not obstruct the due course of law. With the earlier set of instructions and notifications on e-assessments, the CBDT has now notified E-assessment Scheme 2019 as part of the government’s ambitious plan to usher in a countrywide paperless system of interface between the taxman and the assessee.

  • Sep 20, 2019
  • Share secret info about overseas black money with ED, CBI only after permission: CBDT to I-T dept

    Information obtained by the income tax department on overseas black money probes through foreign tax treaties is "confidential" and can only be shared with other agencies after getting consent from the corresponding country, the CBDT has said in a latest directive. It has also asked the taxman to guard against unauthorised disclosure of such information as it is a "serious matter". The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that frames policy for the I-T department, issued a directive on Wednesday stressing on the confidentiality clause that has to be maintained vis-a-vis information obtained from foreign jurisdictions as part of various tax treaties between India and other nations.

  • Sep 19, 2019
  • Tax collection misses target by a wide margin; inches up 4.7% in April-September

    As against a steep 17.5 percent higher tax collection budgeted for the full year, the government could mop-up only 4.7 percent more so far this year, with the direct tax kitty growing to Rs 5.50 lakh crore as of September 17, up from Rs 5.25 lakh crore a year-ago. The lower mop-up reflects the deepening slump in demand and overall growth. In the first quarter the GDP slowed to a six-year low of 5 percent. Of the Rs 5.50 lakh crore collections, advance tax rose a tepid 7.3 percent to Rs 2.20 lakh crore from Rs 2.05 crore, according to sources at the taxation department. It can be noted that the budget had set a direct tax mop-up target of 17.5 percent for the full year, while the same for indirect taxes are set at 15 percent. "Total tax collection till date is Rs 5.5 lakh crore compared to Rs 5.25 lakh crore in the same period last year. Net tax collection is around Rs 4.5 lakh crore as compared to Rs 4.25 lakh crore as of date," a senior tax official told PTI on Wednesday.

  • Sep 17, 2019
  • Govt exempts cash payments above Rs 1 crore via APMC from 2 per cent TDS

    In a relief to the farm sector, the government has decided not to levy 2 per cent tax deduction at source (TDS) on cash payments of over Rs 1 crore made through Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). The government had made the provision of levying 2 per cent TDS on cash withdrawals exceeding Rs 1 crore in the Union Budget with an aim to discourage cash transactions and move towards a less-cash economy. The provision is set to come into force from October 1. “Addressing the concerns raised by Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), it has been decided not to levy the 2% TDS on cash payments above Rs 1 crore made through APMCs, in order to make immediate payments to farmers for their produce,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet. Meanwhile, in another tweet, the minister said an additional 15 per cent depreciation will be allowed on motor vehicles purchased between August 23, 2019, and March 31, 2020.

  • Sep 14, 2019
  • E-Assessment: I-T returns vetting now only in ‘faceless’ mode

    The government on Thursday notified a scheme to revamp the assessment of income-tax (I-T) returns by making it completely faceless, that is, where the assessee and the assessing official would be anonymous to each other. The e-assessment Scheme 2019, however, would provide an opportunity to the assessee to seek a personal hearing but it would have to be conducted exclusively through video conferencing. According to the scheme, the income-tax department would set-up a National e-Assessment Centre, which would serve notices on the assessees specifying the issue for selection of their case for assessment. The taxpayer would have 15 days to respond to the notice and file a response to the Centre.

  • Sep 13, 2019
  • Random prosecutions to end: Norms eased for TDS defaults, tax evasion charges below Rs 25 lakh

    The chances of taxpayers — firms of various types, HUFs and individuals — being prosecuted for compliance lapses that have only minor revenue implications have been minimised. In what could reduce harassment of taxpayers and subsequent litigation, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has eased the norms for initiating prosecution for various defaults including failure to transfer TDS and TCS (tax collected at source) to the government, under-reporting of income and non-filing of tax returns. The circular, issued on Monday, came into immediate effect. It would also apply to all pending cases where complaints are yet to be filed. The CBDT said that there won’t usually be prosecution if the TDS/TCS not deposited is up to Rs 25 lakh and the delay is of less than 60 days.

  • Sep 12, 2019
  • Big relief to taxpayers, now there will be no criminal action in these cases

    The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has given huge relief to taxpayers. In fact, the latest circular of CBDT states that criminal action will not be taken in cases of willful avoidance of payment of tax, non-filing of tax returns and non-deposit of TDS up to Rs. 25 lakh in government treasury. This means that such a case will not go to court. With this decision of CBDT, a large number of taxpayers will be able to avoid legal litigation.

  • Sep 10, 2019
  • Government to tweak Income Tax Act, won’t replace it with direct tax code

    The government is unlikely to replace the Income Tax Act with the direct tax code, and will only incorporate select suggestions from the draft law to avoid creating more uncertainty for businesses amid an economic slowdown.Some suggestions in the draft legislation, submitted to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 19 August, will find their way into the Income Tax Act, 1961 through amendments in the next budget session of Parliament, said a person privy to the discussions in the government.

  • Sep 09, 2019
  • Swiss bank data: 1st tranche mostly about closed accounts, enough details to identify hidden wealth

    As India prepares to analyse troves of Swiss banking details of its citizens, a large portion of the first tranche of data being shared by Switzerland under an automatic information exchange framework this month relates to accounts that have been already closed due to fear of action, bankers and regulatory officials said. However, the data that was prepared by all Switzerland-based banks under a direction from the Swiss government for despatching further to the Indian authorities provides full details of the entire flow of funds to and from all the accounts that were active even for a single day in the year 2018, bankers said. The data can be quite useful for establishing a strong prosecution case against those who had any unaccounted wealth in those accounts, as it provides entire details of deposits and transfers as well as of all earnings including through investments in securities and other asset classes, they said.

  • Sep 09, 2019
  • Govt gets tax bonanza from online ads on Google, Facebook

    Tax receipts arising from a levy on payments made to digital advertising platforms such as Google and Facebook from Indian entities jumped 59% in the year ended March, said a tax official privy to the development.The tax department collected ?939 crore in the year to 31 March, up from ?590 crore a year earlier, the official said on condition of anonymity.The surge in tax collections suggests that Indian entities paid digital platforms such as Facebook and Google at least ?15,650 crore to place advertisements. That compares with the ?9,800 crore they spent in the previous year.

  • Sep 07, 2019
  • File appeals in organised tax evasion cases; don't stick to monetary threshold: CBDT

    The CBDT directed the income tax authorities on Friday to pursue the cases of "organised tax evasion" through long-term capital gains (LTCG) or short-term capital loss (STCL) in courts as it set aside the condition of sticking to the established monetary limits for filing appeals. A Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) order accessed by the decision was being taken after "several references" were received by the board, where a large number of cases of organised tax evasion through LTCG and STCL on penny stockswere noticed.

  • Sep 07, 2019
  • Maharashtra farmers, traders wary of TDS on over Rs 1 crore cash withdrawals

    The Centre’s decision to impose 2% tax deduction at source (TDS) on cash withdrawal from banks in excess of `1 crore in a year has left farmers and traders in Maharashtra’s Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) worried over issues like possible delay in payments and adverse impact on liquidity and sentiment in mandis. Reacting to a notification that TDS will be levied by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) from September 1, Lasalgaon APMC chairman Jaydutta Holkar said farmers are worried that the move may give traders a lot of leeway to delay their payments. The 14-odd mandis in Nashik district have gone cashless from September 1.

  • Sep 07, 2019
  • Cognizant appeals against order upholding Rs. 2,806-cr I-T demand

    The Madras High Court today allowed a writ appeal, in part, filed by Cognizant Technology Solutions against a Single Bench order in June, in a case involving a demand by the Income Tax department to the tune of Rs. 2,806 crore relating to buyback of shares from its shareholders. Cognizant’s scheme of purchase was approved by the Madras High Court in April 2016. It bought back the shares and accordingly, it was treated as capital gains and a sum of Rs. 898.01 crore was withheld as TDS as per the return filed by it.

  • Sep 05, 2019
  • CBDT signs 26 advance pricing agreements in April-August

    The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Wednesday said it has signed 26 advance pricing agreements (APAs) in the April-August period. The total APAs entered into by the board now stands at 297, which includes 32 bilateral APAs (BAPAs). APAs were introduced in 2012 by the government to provide tax certainty to those multinational corporations that agree to certain principles relating to the valuation of their cross-border transactions. They are primarily aimed at avoiding transfer pricing disputes arising from cross-border transactions undertaken by MNCs. “Out of these 26 APAs, 1 is a BAPA entered into with the UK and the remaining 25 are unilateral APAs (UAPAs).

  • Sep 04, 2019
  • I-T could still tax angels to invest in startups

    Startups and investors have lauded the government’s initiatives to exempt startups from the so-called ‘angel tax’, but some people in the community fear the dreaded tax may continue to haunt many of them because a few key issues remain unresolved. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had on August 30 issued a consolidated notification giving a comprehensive summary of the mechanism under which startups would receive exemption from Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act. But it did not provide a fix for some outstanding issues, industry insiders said.

  • Sep 03, 2019
  • Income tax dept creates world record with filing of 49 lakh ITRs in one day

    Income Tax department on Monday said it created a sort of world record by achieving a record Income Tax Return filing in a single day. "The department made a history with an all time high record of 49 lakh 29 thousand ITRs filed in a single day on August 31," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement releasing the data on e-filing of ITRs. It said that as many as 1.5 crore ITRs were filed in the last five days of August. The department said that the peak filing rate per second was at 196 ITRs, filing rate per minute was at 7447 ITRs while it was at 3,87,571 per hour on August 31. It also said that the department thwarted over 2,205 malicious attacks on the website aimed at disrupting services in the peak period.

  • Sep 02, 2019
  • Intense focus on 'round-tripping': RBI, ED scrutiny raises spectre of harassment

    The Reserve Bank of India and the Enforcement Directorate are investigating several companies that have received investments from their foreign subsidiaries or affiliates on the ground that such fund flows could indicate possible round-tripping, said people in the know. The central bank and ED, the agency that probes money laundering, have also started issuing notices to some individuals who have invested in Indian companies through investment arms registered abroad.

  • Sep 02, 2019
  • Faceless tax assessment pilot likely from October 8

    If you are a taxpayer in Mumbai, New Delhi or Ahmedabad, it’s likely that tax officer assessing your income could soon be doing so from anywhere in the country. Taking the first concrete steps toward “faceless tax administration,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has given its approval for a programme that will kickstart the ambitious plan for jurisdiction-free assessment, which is aimed at reducing the scope for corruption by eliminating the need for face-to-face interaction between officers and tax payers.