Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that scrutiny of tax return filers has declined since 2014, and only 0.25 per cent of the total number of filers were scrutinised in 2018-19.
In her address at the virtual inauguration of the Nani Palkhivala Centenary Celebrations at the SASTRA University, she said the government views the taxpayers as “nation-builders”.
Noting that lot of people complain on social media regarding harassment by tax authorities, she said: “Through the social media, we hear lots of people saying ‘what’s happening, why are the tax authorities behind us, are we not paying our tax properly?’
“Whilst respecting all of them, I want to put it before you the matter of fact – between 2014 and 2020, the number of scrutiny cases are only coming down and as of 2018-19, the scrutiny, as a percentage of total filers, is 0.25 per cent only.”
“Through faceless assessment and faceless appeals subsequently, we are laying trust in the hands of the tax assessee; through use of technology, we are laying trust in taxpayers who we see as nation-builders,” she said.
Further, the authorities will conduct scrutiny leveraging big data analysis, and where there are big anomalies, there would be system-flagging, based on which tax scrutiny will be done, reducing personal interface, she said.
Sitharaman also said that the government is working on a Charter of Rights for the taxpayers, which will lay down both their rights and the obligations.
“We are very keen to provide the taxpayer a charter of his rights and obligations. We shall be coming with that,” she said.
The minister first announced the plan to come up with the charter during the announcement of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat economic package in May.
On the alternative system for Income Tax rates, she said that the latest Union Budget made it “very clear” that there would be an exemption-free regime in personal income tax, thereby reducing the burden on taxpayers. The alternative system has been welcomed by many, she added.