'Faceless, Fair, Fearless': PM's Big New Push For Tax Reforms

"The country's honest taxpayer plays a big role in nation-building... A faceless tax system will give the taxpayer confidence on fairness and fearlessness," the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi said a "faceless appeal facility" will be available to all citizens from September 25

Highlights

  • PM Modi launches "Transparent Taxation - Honoring The Honest" platform
  • Honest taxpayer plays a big role in nation-building, says PM
  • Faceless system to make taxpayer more confident, he adds
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a new platform to ease the compliance burden for assessees and reward the "honest taxpayer". "The country's honest taxpayer plays a big role in nation-building... A faceless tax system will give the taxpayer confidence on fairness and fearlessness," the Prime Minister said in a video address after rolling out the ''Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest'' platform in a big push for tax reforms. PM Modi said a "faceless appeal facility" will be available to all citizens from September 25, which is Deen Dayal Upadhyaya's birth anniversary, and the initiatives will strengthen the efforts of "reforming and simplifying our tax system".

Here are 10 things to know about the new tax reforms:

  1. "The new facilities being launched today reinforce the government's commitment to honoring the honest... The platform is based on reforms such as faceless assessment, faceless appeal and taxpayers' charter," PM Modi said in a virtual address. (Also Read: "Honest Taxpayer Plays A Very Big Role In Nation-Building")

  2. The PM said the launch of the "Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest" platform is a new milestone in the structural reforms initiated by his government.

  3. "The government is now focussing on making tax-paying seamless, painless, faceless. Faceless as it shouldn't matter who is paying tax and who is tax officer," PM Modi said.

  4. "Taxpayers will now be given the respect they deserve. The taxpayer will now be trusted, not looked at with doubt. The tax department will have to carry out the steps and processes in a time-bound manner," the Prime Minister said. 

  5. The taxpayers' charter was announced in the Union Budget for fiscal year 2020-21 by the Finance Minister. The facility is likely to empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by the Income Tax Department. 

  6. "Today is a landmark day in the history of tax administration," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding that the vision of the Prime Minister is to empower the taxpayers, to provide a transparent system and to honour the honest taxpayers.

  7. The Finance Ministry said in a Tweet that the faceless appeals would involve random allotment of cases. "With electronic replies, zero physical interface of authorities & instant solutions your way, this is the newest, most convenient & easiest way to tackle your IT litigation issues," it said.

  8. PM Modi said that over the past six years, the government has remained focused on "banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured and funding the unfunded". "In a way, today's launch marks a new beginning in this direction," the Prime Minister said.

  9. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi also appealed to people to voluntarily pay their taxes. "In the last 6 to 7 years, the number of people filing income tax returns has increased. But it cannot be denied that only 1.5 crore people pay taxes in a country of 130 crore. I hope and urge people who do not fall under any tax net now to come forward by themselves in this regard (to pay tax)." The appeal assumed significance in light of the decline in the government's GST collection amid the Covid-19 crisis.

  10. The government has undertaken various tax reforms in the past six years. The Centre has cut the corporate tax to 22 per cent from 30 per cent for existing companies, and 15 per cent for new manufacturing units and scraping of dividend distribution tax in recent times. The Income Tax Department has simplified the income tax return-filing process, lowered taxes for the common man and launched its "Vivad Se Vishwas" scheme to expedite the resolution of pending tax disputes.