Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India was moving from “tax terrorism” to “tax transparency”.
“During the earlier governments, people used to complain about tax terrorism,” the prime minister said, while inaugurating the an office-cum-residential complex of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in Cuttack through video-conferencing. “Now, the country has left it behind and moving towards tax transparency. The change from tax terrorism to tax transparency has happened because the government was taking the approach of reform, perform and transform.”
He said people now do not have to wait for months to get a tax refund. “When they [people] get tax refunds in a few weeks, they experience the tax transparency,” he said. “They now see that the [tax] department solves ages-long dispute.”
He said the government was making changes to rules and procedures and using technology for it.
On tax reforms, he said that there’s no tax on income till Rs 5 lakh, which is beneficial for the youth belonging to the middle class. “In this year’s budget, the options for IT [income tax] is even simpler and saves the taxpayer from unnecessary complications,” the prime minister said.
Modi added that his government made “historical” cuts to make India more investment-friendly.
“To increase investment in India’s equity market, the dividend distribution tax has also been removed,” the prime minister said, adding that the Goods and Services Tax has helped reduced the complicated net of several tax layers.
Modi also said the Supreme Court now only hears cases involving Income Tax appeals of over Rs 2 crore. This has accelerated the “Ease of Doing Business” and freed several companies from legal hassles, he said.
He further said that when India was ruled by the British, the relationship between taxpayers and tax collectors became that of the exploited and the exploiter. “Unfortunately, the steps that were needed to be taken to change this image after Independence were not done.”
On the newly-constructed building, the prime minister said that Income Tax Appellate Tribunal complexes have earlier been built in Bengaluru and Jaipur. “New complexes are being build in other states while old complexes are being upgraded,” he said. “The era of technology we’re approaching has made upgradation very important.”
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, according to the Hindustan Times.
The complex covers an area of over 1.60 acres allotted by the Odisha government free of cost in 2015. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Cuttack, had been functioning from rented premises since 1970 for almost 50 years and has jurisdiction for appeals arising from Odisha.