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Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill, Aadhaar now mandatory for filing tax returns

Taking a hard stance on tax evaders, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley justified the changes in the Finance Bill to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns and getting a permanent account number (PAN).

business Updated: Apr 26, 2017 11:37 IST
Raj Kumar Ray
Finance Bill
Aadhaar has been made mandatory for filing tax returns and getting a permanent account number.(PTI File)

The Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill on Wednesday after finance minister Arun Jaitley justified making Aadhaar mandatory for tax returns.

Taking a hard stance on tax evaders, Jaitley justified the changes in the Finance Bill to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns and getting a permanent account number (PAN).

Replying to lawmakers in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the government deliberately adopted the step to check tax evasion by those having multiple PAN cards.

He also stood by the proposal to cap cash transaction to Rs 2 lakh and said the amendments in various laws were required to pave the way for electoral bonds, as part of the broader objective of electoral reforms.

DEMONETISATION SHORED UP TAX

He also supported demonetisation and termed it a decisive and bold step that will benefit the country.

“When the entire world is moving towards digital economy, a particular party is arguing for cash economy,” he said in a veiled attack on the main opposition party Congress.

“Investigations by the CBDT have revealed 18 lakh names who have deposited huge amounts of old currency in banks. The tax authorities have sent SMS asking for the source of the money deposited. Of that, 8.71 lakh have replied,” Jaitley told the Lok Sabha.

“In the last two years, tax buoyancy has improved. For 2016-17, the budget estimate was Rs 16.25 lakh crore. We revised it up to Rs 17 lakh crore. It is possible to surpass even the revised target as well. For 2017-18, the target for tax collection is set at Rs 19.25 lakh crore,” Jaitley said replying to lawmakers query on the Finance Bill.

ELECTORAL REFORMS

On Tuesday, Jaitley moved about 40 changes in the Finance Bill, including those for electoral reforms, capping cash transaction limit to Rs 2 lakh and making Aadhaar compulsory for taxpayers.

Paving the way for electoral reforms, Jaitley said the government will amend several laws including the RBI Act and Income Tax Act to allow political parties to raise funds through electoral bonds.

Expressing optimism over improvement in tax collections after the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the finance minister said the government was trying to the meet the deadline of July 1, 2017.

GST ROLL OUT

Jaitley also said the government will bring a bill to amend Excise and Customs Act along with 4 bills on GST.

“We expect a big change in tax collection from July. The GST Council has finalised the legislation after arriving at a consensus of all issues in the last 12 meetings,” he said adding that the government is trying to stick to the deadline for GST implementation.

“The last date for GST roll out is September 15 but we are trying it from July,” Jaitley said.

The Cabinet recently approved the four crucial bills—CGST, IGST, UT-GST and Compensation Rule—needed to roll out GST.

The GST Council has already finalized a four-slab GST structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.