​​ Online Filing of quarterly TDS/TCS statements in the e-Filing portal shall be available with effect from 1st May, 2016

Lok Sabha passes GST Bill with Rajya Sabha amendments

Parliament approved biggest overhaul of indirect taxes on Monday after the lower house ratified a constitutional amendment Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a major step to make doing business easier.

The proposed goods and services tax (GST) is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy 25 years ago and the revamping of the tax system since the country's independence in 1947.

The measure will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax, creating a single customs union widely expected to reduce business transaction costs, with potentially significant long-term growth benefits.

The upper house, where the measure was stuck for months, passed the bill last week.

Modi hailed the passage of the bill as a "great step by team India, (a) great step towards transformation, great steps towards transparency".

"Today, an important move to free the nation from tax terrorism has begun," he told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament.

The advancement of the new sales tax is the biggest legislative victory for Modi, who swept to power in 2014 promising to nurse India's then faltering economy back to health.

His plans to simplify rules for land sales got scuttled in parliament last year. Similarly, political opposition forced him to put on hold proposed legislative changes aimed at making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers.

It has been 13 years since the tax was first mooted, but forging a political consensus has been a bruising process, as the measure would curb the powers of Indian states.

Ironically, the GST is getting closer to the finish line under Modi, who while running the state of Gujarat vehemently opposed it - a fact that drew criticism from opposition benches.

Modi defended his stance, saying his experience as a provincial chief helped him better understand and address states' concerns.

"Lots of flaws have been overcome as far as the GST is concerned," he said. "A trust between the centre and states has developed."

Under the new regime, companies will get offsets for taxes paid at different stages of the supply chain, mitigating the dangers of double-taxation.

The finance ministry aims to roll out the GST from next April. Meeting the self-imposed deadline, however, will be a race against time, tax experts say.

The bill now needs the approval of half of India's state legislatures and federal and state legislatures must pass three laws to implement the tax.

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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RBI launches 'Sachet' portal to check illegal money collection

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday launched a portal to curb illegal collection of money by companies.

The URL of the website is www.sachet.rbi.org.in

This website will enable public to obtain information regarding entities who accept deposits, lodge complaints and also share information regarding illegal acceptance of deposits, said RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan while launching 'Sachet' here.


"Initiating quick follow up and taking cases to logical conclusion by punishing the guilty is paramount to deterring entities in future from carrying out unlawful activity. I hope 'Sachet' would help regulators in doing this as much as it would help members of public in depositing their hard earned money with genuine companies by giving them timely information about them," Rajan said.

The website would also help enhance coordination among regulators and state government agencies.

Explaining the features of the website, Deputy Governor S.S. Mundra said, people can file and track a complaint on this website if any firm has illegally accepted money from them or defaulted in repayment of deposits.

People can also share information regarding any such entity on this portal, Mundra said.

The website also incorporates regulations prescribed by all financial regulators that one has to follow.

'Sachet' also has a section for closed user group for State Level Coordination Committee (SLCCs) wherein they could share market intelligence and other information about their activities as well as agenda and minutes of meetings across the country in real time.

All states have SLCCs comprising of various regulators, including RBI, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), National Housing Bank (NHB), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), Registrar of Companies (ROC) and concerned state government departments, such as, home, finance, law and various police authorities.

Mundra hoped that the website will act as a 'force multiplier' and go a long way in making the SLCCs more effective in curbing the menace of unauthorised money raising activities.
Refer:www.business-standard.com
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Rajya Sabha clears GST; releases Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2016

On Aug 3, 2016, Rajya Sabha discussed amendments to Constitution Bill for Goods and Service Tax i.e. Constitutional (One Hundred and First Amendment) Bill, 2016 and finally the most crucial bill passed in Rajya Sabha.GST will be introduced in the country after a long journey of 13 years as it was first discussed in the Kelkar Task Force report on indirect taxes in 2003.
This amendment bill was cleared since Government agreed to drop 1% additional tax and gave assurance that it will compensate States for any revenue loss incurred due to GST rollout. There will be a huge impact of GST on common man. Goods like Small Cars, Two wheeler, Movie Tickets, Electronic Items, etc., will be cheaper. But Air Travel, Insurance, Textile, Jewellery, Mobile Calls, Cigarettes will be costlier.

Refer:taxmann.com
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Senior officers to suggest circumstances justifying waiver of fee for delay in filing TDS returns: CBDT

SECTION 234E OF THE INCOME-TAX ACT, 1961 - DEDUCTION OF TAX AT SOURCE - DEFAULT IN FURNISHING STATEMENTS - FEE FOR - SITUATION OF GENUINE HARDSHIP JUSTIFYING WAIVER OF FEE CHARGED UNDER SECTION 234E
LETTER F.NO.275/27/2013-IT(B), DATED 2-8-2016
The Board is examining the desirability and expediency of prescribing situation/circumstances under which levy of fee under section 234E may cause genuine hardship to the taxpayers, so as to prescribe guidelines for waiver of such fees by virtue of the powers of the Board under section 119(2)(a) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.
2. In this connection, I am directed to request you to kindly forward your suggestions and recommendations for conditions/circumstances which justify waiver of fee under section 234E for an assessee or a class of assessees. These may kindly be furnished by 31-8-2016.
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I-T Dept may write off small tax arrears of up to Rs 5,000


The idea is to cut litigation, lower the cost of collection and prioritising of bigger defaulters

For the first time ever, the income tax department is thinking of writing off tax arrears in each case where the dues are up to Rs 5,000.

The idea is to cut litigation, lower the cost of collection and prioritising of bigger defaulters. Though writing off will mean the government could lose up to to Rs 600 crore, many of these accounts are anyway not recoverable. There are four million tax arrear cases of under Rs 5,000, older than three years.

Initially, what is being considered is writing off 1.8 mn arrear cases with dues under Rs 100 each. "(This could) then be expanded to cover arrears under Rs 5,000. This will ease a lot of hassle that tax payers go through, beside de-cluttering our database of arrears, which might not even be recoverable," said an official. About 2.2 mn cases are between Rs 100 and Rs 5,000.

"Since these are old cases, they are not even being followed up by the department. In some cases, the defaulter cannot be tracked. The cost of recovery is higher than the pending tax amount in many cases," another official added.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to expedite refunds of up to Rs 5,000 and also for cases where the arrear amount is up to Rs 5,000. In a circular issued recently, the department has said: "The refund pendency data has revealed that there are a large number of pending claims of refunds up to Rs 5,000 ?for assessment years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16...the assessing officers be directed to issue refunds expeditiously, without making any adjustment of arrear demands..."

In 2014-15, the Central Board of Direct Taxes issued 13 mn refunds worth a combined Rs 26,663 crore.
Source:www.business-standard.com/
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DUE DATE FOR FILING INCOME TAX RETURNS EXTENDED TO AUGUST 5, 2016

The CBDT today released an order extending the due date to 5th August, 2016 for the of filing Income Tax Returns which are to be filed by 31st July, 2016. The said extension has been made in order to avoid inconvenience to the taxpayers considering the Bank Strike on 29th July, 2016 and the 31st of July (Sunday) being a bank holiday.

Click Here to view the original Notification
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Individuals attaining age of 60 yrs on 1st April to be deemed as senior citizens in preceding FY

SECTION 119 OF THE INCOME-TAX ACT, 1961 - INCOME-TAX AUTHORITIES - INSTRUCTIONS TO SUBORDINATE AUTHORITIES - CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING ATTAINING PRESCRIBED AGE OF 60/80 YEARS ON 31st MARCH ITSELF, IN CASE OF SENIOR/VERY SENIOR CITIZENS WHOSE DATE OF BIRTH FALLS ON 1st APRIL, FOR PURPOSES OF INCOME-TAX ACT
CIRCULAR NO.28/2016 [F.NO.225/182/2016/ITA.II]DATED 27-7-2016
Higher tax exemption limits have been prescribed under the past Finance Acts for resident senior citizen taxpayers who have attained the age of sixty years. Even in such cases, the exemption limit is still higher for very senior citizens who have attained the age of eighty years. A doubt has been raised about the attainment of the aforesaid qualifying ages for availing higher exemption in cases of the persons whose date of birth falls on 1st April of calendar year. In other words, the broader question under consideration is whether a person born on 1st April of a particular year can be said to have completed a particular age on 31st March, on the preceding day of his/her birthday, or on 1st April itself of that year.
2. The matter has been examined. Although specific provision does not exist in this regard under the Income-tax Act, 1961, the Hon'ble Supreme Court had an occasion to consider a similar issue in the case of Prabhu Dayal Sesma vs. State of Rajasthan & another 1986, AIR, 1948 wherein it has dealt with on the general rules to be followed for calculating the age of the person. In this judgment , Apex Court observed that while counting the age of the person, whole of the day should be reckoned and it starts from 12 O'clock in the midnight and he attains the specified age on the preceding, the anniversary of his birthday. The observation of Hon'ble Supreme Court in para 9 of the aforesaid judgment reads as under:
"9 ...........At first impression, it may seem that a person born on January 2, 1956 would attain 28 years of age only on January 2, 1984 and not on January 1, 1984. But this is not quite accurate. In calculating a person's age, the day of his birth must be counted as a whole day and he attains the specified age on the day preceding, the anniversary of his birthday. We have to apply well accepted rules for computation of time. One such rule is that fractions of a day will be omitted in computing a period of time is years or months in the sense that a fraction of a day will be treated as a full day. A legal day commences at 12 O'clock midnight and continues until the same hour the following night. There is a popular misconception that a person does (sic not) attain a particular age unless and until he has completed a given number of years. In the absence of any express provision, it is well settled that any specified age in law is to be computed as having been attained on the day preceding the anniversary of the birthday"
3. In view of the aforesaid judgment, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, in exercise of powers under section 119 of the Act, hereby clarifies that a person born on 1st April would be considered to have attained a particular age on 31st March, the day preceding the anniversary of his birthday. In particular, the question of attainment of age of eligibility for being considered a senior/very senior citizen would therefore be decided on the basis of above criteria.
4. The field authorities are directed to take note of above position for ascertaining the age while computing tax liability of a taxpayer falling in Individual' category, being resident in India.
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Ease of Doing Business – Paperless PAN & TAN application process

Government of India 
Ministry of Finance 
Department of Revenue 
Central Board of Direct Taxes 
New Delhi, 22nd July, 2016. 

Sub :- Ease of Doing Business – Paperless PAN & TAN application process. 

For fast tracking the allotment of PAN and TAN to company applicants, Digital Signature Certificate(DSC) based application procedure has been introduced on the portals of PAN service providers M/s NSDL eGov and M/s UTIITSL. Under the new process PAN and TAN will be allotted within one day after completion of valid on-line application.
Similarly, a new Aadhaar e-Signature based application process for Individual PAN applicants has been made available on the portals of PAN service providers M/s NSDL eGov.
The URL links for the above applications are available in ‘important links’ on the homepage of the departmental website ‘incometaxindia.gov.in’.
Introduction of Aadhaar based e-Signature through M/s NSDL eGov in PAN application not only ensures paperless hassle free PAN application process but also seeding of Aadhaar in PAN which will curb the problem of duplicate PAN to a great extent.

(Meenakshi J. Goswami) 
Commissioner of Income Tax 
(Media and Technical Policy) 
Official Spokesperson, CBDT.
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Income Tax Department to issue 7 lakh letters seeking Information in respect of High Value Transactions

Government of India 
Ministry of Finance 
Department of Revenue 
Central Board of Direct Taxes 
New Delhi, 21st July, 2016
Press Release

Sub : Income Tax Department to issue 7 lakh letters seeking Information in respect of High Value Transactions 

Under the Annual Information Returns (AIR), various types of high-value transactions were being reported to the Income Tax Department. These include reporting of cash deposits of Rs.10,00,000 or more in a saving bank account, sale/purchase of immovable property valued at Rs. 30,00,000 or more, etc. Many of these transactions do not have PAN linked to it. The Department has details of about 90 lakh such transactions for the period 2009-10 to 2016-17. The Income Tax Department has with the help of in-house computer techniques, grouped such non-PAN transactions and identified 7 lakh high-risk clusters having around 14 lakh non-PAN transactions which are being scrutinized by the Income Tax Department closely.

The Department will be issuing letters to the parties of these transactions requesting them to provide their PAN number against these transactions. For the convenience of the parties to whom these letters are addressed, a new functionality on e-filing portal has been developed wherein they can own up transactions and provide structured response electronically. The parties can log-in to their e-filing website and by quoting a Unique Transaction Sequence Number provided in the letter sent to them, can link their transaction with their PAN easily. They will also be able to give a response to this letter electronically by choosing the option of either owning up the transaction or denying the transaction as their own. The responses received from such parties online will be examined by the Department. The Department will initiate further necessary action in those cases where no replies are received.
The members of public who receive such letters are requested to kindly cooperate in the matter. They may use the Departmental helpline to ask questions, as far as possible, instead of making direct contact with any officials of the Income Tax Department. Members of public are advised not to entertain any claims from unscrupulous elements who may offer their help in complying with such communication by falsely representing themselves to be the agents of Income Tax department in the matter.
(Meenakshi J Goswami) 
 Commissioner of Income Tax 
 (Media and Technical Policy) 
 Official Spokesperson, CBDT. 
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The Income Declaration Scheme 2016 - Issue of further FAQs

Government of India 
Ministry of Finance 
Department of Revenue 
Central Board of Direct Taxes

PRESS RELEASE 
New Delhi, 14 th July, 2016
Sub : The Income Declaration Scheme 2016 - Issue of further FAQs 
The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 provides an opportunity to persons who have not paid full taxes in the past to come forward and declare their undisclosed income and assets. The Board has issued three sets of clarifications in the form of FAQs. The fourth set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing clarification on various issues are in the process of being issued and will be available on the official website of the Income Tax Department i.e., www.incometaxindia.gov.in later today. 
Queries have been received from various stakeholders whether the payment under the Scheme can be made out of undisclosed income without including the same in the income declared, thereby bringing down the effective rate of tax, surcharge and penalty payable under the Scheme to around 31%. The fourth set of FAQs seek to set this issue at rest as follows: 

“Question No. 6: With reference to Question No.5 issued vide Circular No.25 of 2016, wherein it has been stated that the department will not make any enquiry in respect of sources of income, payment of tax, surcharge and penalty, it may be clarified that whether the payment under the Scheme can be made out of undisclosed income without including the same in the income declared, thereby bringing down the effective rate of tax, surcharge and penalty payable under the Scheme to round 31 per cent? 

Answer: It is clarified that the intent of the clarification issued vide Question No.5 of Circular No.25 of 2016 was limited to conduct of enquiry by the Department. It in no way intends to modify or alter the rate of tax, surcharge and penalty payable under the Scheme which have been clearly specified in the Scheme itself. Sections 184 & 185 of the Finance Act, 2016 unambigously provide for payment of tax, surcharge and penalty at the rate of 45 per cent of undisclosed income. This is illustrated by the following example— 

In a case a person declares Rs.100 lakh as undisclosed income, being the fair market value of undisclosed immovable property as on 1st June, 2016 and pays tax, surcharge and penalty or Rs.45 lakh (30 lakh + 7.5 lakh + 7.5 lakh) on the same out of his other undisclosed income. In this case the declarant will not get any immunity under the Scheme in respect of undisclosed income of 45 lakh utilized for payment of tax, surcharge and penalty but not included in the declaration filed under the Scheme. To get immunity under the Scheme in respect of the entire undisclosed income of Rs.145 lakh (Rs.100 lakh being undisclosed income represented by immovable property and Rs.45 lakh being the payment made from undisclosed income) and pay tax, surcharge and penalty under the Scheme amounting to Rs.65.25 lakh i.e., 45 per cent of Rs. 145 lakh.”
Other queries related to revision of declaration, chargeability of capital gain and TDS on transfer of property from benamidar to beneficial owner etc. have also been dealt with in the circular. 
(Meenakshi J Goswami) 
 Commissioner of Income Tax 
 (Media and Technical Policy) 
 Official Spokesperson, CBDT. 
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