Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 01, 2005
Industry & Economy
130 tax help centres to function from today
The Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, along with the Revenue Secretary, Mr K.M. Chandrasekhar (centre), and the Advisor to the Finance Minister, Mr Parthasarathi Shome, at the inauguration of help centres for small tax payers in the Capital on Thursday. Kamal Narang
New Delhi , June 30
OPENING a new chapter in the relationship between the taxpayer and the Revenue Department, the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, on Thursday launched the `Help Centre' initiative for small taxpayers.
As part of this taxpayer friendly initiative, about 80-83 income-tax help centres would start functioning in the country from Friday. On the indirect tax side, Mr Chidambaram said that over 50 help centres would function from July 1. The Government has also launched a print media campaign to support this initiative.
"The purpose of the help centres is to send a clear message to the taxpayer that the State is obliged to collect taxes, but would do so in a friendly and humane manner. Without taxes, there can be no State and no governance. Taxes must be paid. The idea of a help centre is to make tax payment and tax collection a friendly exercise," Mr Chidambaram said.
The Finance Minister said that the centres would help taxpayers prepare income-tax return, fill tax challans, fill PAN application forms and answer their queries on the income-tax law.
He also said that the help centres for indirect taxes would give clarifications on excise and customs issues.
All the help centres are to be located in non-official premises (industrial associations and chambers of commerce).
The Finance Minister said that the Government was adopting a two-pronged approach to correct the perception that the tax administration has become harsh, exploitative and unfriendly.
While the first part is to make tax rates reasonable, the other is to reach out to the taxpayer and help them pay their taxes.
Stating that direct tax rates today are "most reasonable," Mr Chidambaram said that there could be no argument from anyone that an exemption of Rs 1 lakh and savings provision of another 1 lakh and threshold rate of 10 per cent would still tempt an individual to avoid tax. "That argument is totally unacceptable," he said.
The Finance Minister warned that the Government would reach out to those who are not paying taxes through tax information network, annual information returns and information analysis.
Later, speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of the launch of the help centre, Mr Chidambaram said that there was no change in plan for borrowings (government borrowings) for early July.
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