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Prez Patil's recipe to fight black money menace

Last updated on: July 15, 2011 16:17 IST

Prez Patil's recipe to fight black money menace

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Amid growing concern over the problem of black money, President Pratibha Patil on Friday said the war against the menace should be fought through domestic and cross-border measures.

The President, while addressing the concluding ceremony of celebrations for 150 years of the Income Tax Department, also made a strong case for tightening laws to book tax evaders.

"The war against black money has to be addressed both domestically and through cross border measures," she said, adding the efforts to enhance global cooperation need to continue.

"There has to be continued (cooperation) through appropriate agreement on tax information exchange, and on mutual cooperation between countries to track down evaders taking shelter in other jurisdictions," she said.

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Image: President Pratibha Patil.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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On the domestic front, Patil said: "Fostering of an environment of voluntary compliance will help.

There is also need for putting in place measures, through laws and procedures, to ensure that recalcitrant tax evaders are brought to book."

It may be recalled the government has taken various initiatives to deal with the menace of black money and has set up several committees to ascertain the extent of black money and suggest measures to tighten tax laws.

On the international front, the government has been taking a pro-active role at global forums especially G-20, revising bilateral tax treaties and signing new pacts with tax havens or low tax jurisdictions.

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Image: An employee carries bundles of currency notes.
Photographs: Jayanta Dey/Reuters
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Speaking on broad policy issues on taxation, the President said the interface with compliant taxpayers, especially small taxpayers, senior citizens and pensioners must be initiated and maintained on a continuous basis, for a feedback on difficulties being faced by them.

"Rectifications in systems and processes, if required, can then be carried out in real time. At the same time, the use of electronic modes for filing returns should be further popularised in the interest of greater efficiency", Patil said.

In 2011-12, about 92 lakh taxpayers used the e-filing facility for income tax returns.

Patil also expressed confidence that with the widening of the present taxpayer base by about 3.5 crore taxpayers, the direct tax-to-GDP ratio should rise beyond the present figure of 6.1 per cent.

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She said that for any dynamic institution, innovation is the keyword. "There should be periodic interaction between officers, holding of brainstorming seminars and workshops as well as study of international best practices and experience sharing...," she said.

The President said dialogue with major think tanks, economic institutions and experts for fostering of innovative and new solutions to the problems which confront tax administration, could be intellectually stimulating, and can also generate some new ideas.

She said a major initiative to reform and simplify tax laws has been launched with the introduction of the Direct Tax Coder now under consideration of Parliament.

Direct tax contributes about half of the central government's revenues.



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