The government is moving fast to simplify the complex income-tax laws, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday, indicating that the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) roadmap laid down by the UPA government may get a quiet burial.
“Several of the measures listed there (DTC) have already been done…many would require a look,” he said at an event organised by Rajya Sabha TV to discuss the Union budget.
“We bat with a straight bat,” the finance minister said.
The DTC, first proposed in 2010, had outlined an overhaul of India’s income-tax laws, including big changes in rates and slabs. The code was aimed to replace the existing Income Tax Act, 1961 with measures that are easy to interpret and would bring down income-tax litigation.
More than Rs 500,000 crore is locked up in various stages of litigation in India’s courts.
The minister also said the government would consider an industry demand to extend more benefits to home buyers.
In his budget speech, Jaitley had proposed that real estate firms building houses up to 30 square metres in metros and 60 square metres in smaller towns will get tax breaks.
“Even with what has been stipulated in the budget, there are ways...you can build houses of that size,” Jaitley said.
He said the four-month window for people to come clean on undisclosed assets is different from the amnesty offer — Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) — that former finance minister P Chidambaram launched in 1997. The current scheme will charge a 45% tax on all hidden incomes disclosed; the VDIS had levied only 30% as tax, he said.
Urban consumption demand and investments are driving growth, while weak exports and challenges faced by banks were causes for concern, he felt.