The government has recast the institutional arrangement for tax reforms and legislation, creating a Tax Policy Council headed by the finance minister Arun Jaitley. This will approve broad policy measures to ensure consistency in direct and indirect tax changes.
The Government said it has created a Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) and Tax Policy Council to be chaired by the Union Finance Minister with nine other members including Minister of State for Finance, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman, Commerce and Industry Minister Revenue Secretary and the Chief Economic Advisor. Finance secretary, Commerce Secretary and Industry Secretary will also be its members.
The Council will be advisory in nature, which will help the Government in identifying key policy decisions for taxation.
The TPRU will comprise of officers from both the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) as well as economists, statisticians, operational researchers, legal experts, said an official release.
The decision is based on the recommendation of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) that have in its First Report, identified handling of tax policy and related legislation as one of the areas in need of structural modifications. Right now this is handled in the CBDT and the CBEC. Independently of the two boards, the Tax Research Unit (TRU) and Tax Policy and Legislation (TPL) wings also send proposals to the union Finance Minister. To bring consistency, multidisciplinary inputs, and coherence in policy making, the TARC recommended that a Tax Council supported by a common Tax Policy and Analysis (TPA) unit should be established to cater to needs of both direct and indirect taxes. It also recommended that Comprising tax administrators, economists, and other specialists such as statisticians, tax law experts, operation research specialists and social researchers should be set up for both the the boards.
The TPRU will be a multi disciplinary body with the objectives of carrying out out studies on various topics of fiscal and tax policies referred to it by CBDT and CBEC. It will provide independent analysis, prepare and disseminate policy papers and background papers on various tax policy issues. It will assist Tax Policy Council and liaise with State Commercial Tax Departments.
“The Tax Policy Council will look at all the research findings coming from Tax Policy Research (TPRU) Unit and suggest broad policy measures for taxation,” the statement said. The council will be advisory in nature and help the government identify key tax-related policy decisions. The government has also given a very clear mandate to TRPU.