Use tech to up tax compliance: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked tax officials to adopt technological tools and ensure that there is no high-handedness in their dealings with taxpayers.
The minister has been holding consultations with officers across the country, with meetings already held in Mumbai and Delhi and more such deliberations planned over the next few weeks. Sources told TOI that a part of the effort is an outreach by the FM to get a feedback on the faceless assessment and appeal mechanism that was implemented by the income tax department. Based on the inputs, the government may seek to undertake improvements, wherever needed.
While there were some apprehensions from a certain section of the income tax bureaucracy over the faceless method of assessment and appeal, the Narendra Modi administration has decided to go for it the whole hog as it believes that minimising direct interface brings transparency and accountability. This has also helped check unwarranted scrutiny and questioning by officials during face-to-face meetings with taxpayers and their representatives.
During interactions, Sitharaman has also cited experience with the GST platform to argue how technology can be used to improve compliance, without being intrusive. Over the last year or so, the Centre has managed to go after those misusing the indirect tax regime by issuing fake invoices or making bogus claims through the data that is available on GST Network, which is often matched with other sources such as income tax filings.

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