In what would help assessing officers across the country to take a homogeneous view in legal matters of similar nature,the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has formed a standing committee to firm up,what would be called departments view,on contentious legal issues.
The move,the officials in the department say,would help in reduction of litigation and bring in more stability in the tax regime across the country. The panel,termed as Central Technical Committee (CTC),will be the nodal agency for firming up final opinions on orders by high courts,authority for advance rulings (AAR) or Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT),which will be circulated among all the officials.
The idea is to reduce further litigation and weed out divergent views on the same order. We have seen that largely our litigation is due to interpretation of legal provisions. Officials interpret it differently,leading to inconsistent approach on the same issue giving rise to further litigation. The committee is expected to promote consistency of approach on a given issue, a government official told The Indian Express.
The CTC,which will meet once a month,will examine only the cases filtered through regional technical committees (RTC),which will refer the cases only if there are conflicting interpretations by ITAT,high courts,or AAR in respect of a statutory provision,or if the interpretation of a statutory provision defeats the legislative intent,or the dispute involves substantial revenue ramifications,or it would result in large scale litigation.
The Central committee has been given powers to solicit opinion of the law ministry and may also seek opinion of professional bodies and retired judges,the official said.
Earlier,finance minister P Chidambaram had asked the chief commissioners of income tax to adopt a taxpayer-friendly approach and bring in stability in tax regime. If the any high court takes a view contrary to that of the CTC,The departmental view thereon shall not be operative in the area falling in the jurisdiction of the relevant high court. The chief commissioner concerned should immediately bring the judgement to the notice of the CTC.
The official said that any issue which is considered contentious and may have wide ranged implications,would be referred to RTCs who can pick up the cases suo motu as well.