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Monday 27 January 2020

Tax law of India, 50 years old, set to change

The process had begun under Arun Jaitley during the previous Narendra Modi government but will see the efforts come to fruition under Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: A government-appointed task force headed by CBDT member Akhilesh Ranjan on Monday submitted its report on the new Direct Tax Code, which seeks to replace the existing Income Tax Act. The details of the report, however, could not be known immediately.

The Finance Ministry in a tweet said, “Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. @nsitharaman received the report submitted by Shri Akhilesh Ranjan, Convenor of the Taskforce constituted by the Government to draft New Direct Tax Law, in New Delhi today.”

The task force was supposed to submit its report by 31 May, but the then finance minister Arun Jaitley gave two months extension to complete the exercise. Subsequently, the government allowed the task force to submit its report by 16 August 2019, in light of the fact that the new members of the task force requested for more time to provide further inputs.

The finance ministry had, in November last year, appointed Akhilesh Ranjan, Member (Legislation), CBDT, as convenor of the task force after the retirement of Arbind Modi.

Other members of the task force include Girish Ahuja (chartered accountant), Rajiv Memani (Chairman and Regional Managing Partner of EY), Mukesh Patel (Practicing Tax Advocate), Mansi Kedia (Consultant, ICRIER) and G C Srivastava (retired IRS and Advocate).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the annual conference of tax officers in September 2017, had observed that the Income-Tax Act, 1961, was drafted more than 50 years ago and it needs to be redrafted.

The task force was assigned to draft direct tax laws in line with the norms prevalent in other countries, incorporating international best practices, and keeping in mind the economic needs of the country.

The panel was initially supposed to submit its report to the government, within six months, by 22 May 2018, which was further extended till 22 August.

Following Arbind Modi’s retirement on 30 September 2018, Akhilesh Ranjan-led panel was tasked to submit the report by 28 February 2019. It was then extended till 31 May.

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