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No harassment: Govt to soon bring in taxpayers’ charter, says Nirmala Sitharaman

No harassment: Govt to soon bring in taxpayers’ charter, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The government will soon introduce a taxpayers’ charter in the Income Tax Act with statutory backing, which will contain their rights as well as obligations, to ensure fairness for all assessees, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.

Highlighting several steps taken by the government to protect honest taxpayers from unnecessary harassment, the minister said only a very few countries, such as Australia and the US, currently have such charters in place. This is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s broader Atmanirbhar Bharat initiaves.

Speaking at a webinar on the centenary celebrations of legendary jurist Nani Palkhivala, Sitharaman said the Modi government has taken care to reduce the incidence of scrutiny in recent years and cases involving only 0.25% of the number of filers are being scrutinised. The idea is to “trust the taxpayers, rather than asking them to prove their innocence first”.

The charter was proposed in the Budget for 2020-21 in a bid to assuage fears of overzealous taxmen clamping down on honest taxpyers in one pretext or the other.

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