Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has sought assistance from the legal fraternity in simplifying the country’s direct and indirect tax norms.
At a meeting, ahead of the Budget, the minister met the Society of Indian Law Firms comprising representatives of 25 law firms in the country.
Mukherjee may introduce the direct tax code in the forthcoming Budget.
The finance ministry has also made a detailed presentation to the Prime Minister on the direct taxes code.
Lalit Bhasin, managing partner of law firm Bhasin & Co and president of the delegation told Hindustan Times that draft of the proposed direct tax code is complicated and needs to be reviewed. “The draft, which is currently under scrutiny, needs clarity and simplicity so that it is easily understood by the common man,” he said, adding that the society would soon send its recommendation on the same.
Manoj Kumar, managing partner, Hammurabi and Solomon, said, “We feel that there is a need to increase focus on self compliance and transparency within the framework.”
As per the direct tax code draft, several exemptions would be withdrawn, while lowering tax rates for both individuals and corporates.
The society would soon provide its observations on the proposed goods and services tax (GST) as well. “There would be certain constitutional implication relating to Centre-state arrangement in the case of GST and we would also make note of this and see how the legal contours can be handled more effectively,” Bhasin said.
The delegation also urged the finance minister to abolish the 10 per cent service tax imposed on legal consultancy and advisory firms. This was introduced in last year, were brought under the service tax net.