In a first-of-its-kind move, the government has a set up a panel headed by Parthasarathi Shome, adviser to the finance minister, to hear tax-related matters from industry associations, in a move seen as an attempt to soothe investors’ frayed nerves arising out of a string of tax disputes in recent years.
The panel will meet every Wednesday at 3 pm and the first meeting will be held on August 7.
The ministry has been receiving representations from chambers of commerce and industry associations on tax-related issues. The groups had been demanding a forum to put their views before the government.
“The request is found very reasonable. Exchange of views between industry groups and government on tax-related issues or disputes would give an opportunity to the government to hear the arguments of the industry groups. It will also give the government an opportunity to explain its stand on tax-related matters. Thus this exercise would be mutually beneficial,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The government has been at the receiving end of unsparing criticism following its move to “retrospectively” tax international mergers including Vodafone's 2007 acquisition of Hutchinson’s mobile assets in India.
The government recently approved a proposal for conciliation with Vodafone on its six-year-old Rs. 11,200-crore tax dispute in India.