Simplify tax procedures

The Hindu Business Line, March 9, 2017
Simplify tax procedures
This refers to ‘Cost accountants’ body to train 15 lakh traders in GST basics over the year’ (March 9). The move by ICAI is welcome. Though thousands of copies of the Budget documents are printed, most of them go directly to raddiwaalas.
GST is likely to address some of the issues of multiple taxation outside income tax. Think of a day when the tax payable by us is just a percentage of our income or expenditure, with a maximum of four slabs, and total exemption up to a threshold level. We pay income tax at source and again pay tax on the balance received when we use the residual income to buy goods or services. We need to debate possible options to simplify the tax system, keeping intact the Government’s net revenue from taxes.
This is the time to consider agricultural income and income from any source coming before tax to the hands of citizens, for being taxed. Goods and organisations/institutions with income beyond a threshold level should be assessed for tax purposes. A related issue is wealth and accumulated assets in various forms. All these idling with individuals and institutions should be mapped and brought to the mainstream database. In addition to recovery of costs for providing security and other services, there should be clear disincentives for idle assets including uncultivated agricultural land, unused built-up areas and so on.
MG Warrier



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