Tax officials have been urged to “utilise data effectively” such that revenue target for personal income tax is not only met, but exceeded in this financial year, a finance ministry release said. As part of the deliberations ranging from tax evasion, data analytics, litigation management to Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the two-day annual conference of tax administrators, Rajaswa Gyan Sangam, the tax department also discussed strategies to widen tax base with special focus on verification of taxpayer’s data in light of demonetisation and the subsequent sharing of statement of financial transactions (SFT) by banks/financial institutions with the tax department.
Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia in his concluding remarks at the conference “underlined the importance of increasing efforts to garner revenue in light of the data that is available post-demonetisation,” a finance ministry release quoted him as saying.
“Strategies for revenue maximisation were discussed at length especially since the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) has been tasked to collect revenue of Rs 9.80 lakh crore in the present fiscal. The officers were urged to utilise data effectively such that the target for collection of personal income tax should not only be met but also be exceeded,” the release said.
Tax officials have also been directed to popularise Operation Clean Money portal to create “an environment of voluntary compliance”. “Strategies for widening of tax base were discussed in detail with special focus on verification of data collected during demonetisation and SFT. The CBDT aims to add a sizeable number of new taxpayers in the current fiscal. It was directed that special focus be given to popularise the Operation Clean Money portal such that an environment of voluntary compliance can be created,” the release said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his inaugural address at the Rajaswa Gyan Sangam had asked tax officers to use data analytical tools to proactively track and determine undeclared income and wealth and highlighted the need to strengthen data analytics and investigation wing of the tax department.
As a step towards effective litigation management, CBDT aims to substantially reduce the number of appeals and the disputed demand before CIT (Appeals), with the “focus on disposing off 70 per cent of smaller appeals” and “30 per cent of high demand appeals including 100 per cent of appeals involving disputed demand of Rs 50 crore and above”, it said.
Adhia also emphasised that revenue was a cross sectoral subject that required in depth understanding and coordination between both CBDT and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
The revenue secretary also echoed the prime minister’s view to focus on e-assessments and turn faceless assessments into a reality. He also emphasised on the need to have good behaviour with taxpayers such that genuine grievances of taxpayers get disposed off on priority. “It was decided that Assessing Officers be encouraged to maximise e-assessment in a phased manner and to ensure that work be completed online so that there is complete transparency,” the release said. Almost 85 per cent of grievances of CBDT have been disposed off online through the e-nivaran portal, it added.