Category: legislation

Despite vehement protests by the legal fraternity, service-tax on legal consultancy services has become a reality. The author, an eminent expert in service-tax law, has prepared this Guide to bail out bewildered lawyers wondering how to comply with their newly-imposed service-tax obligation. A pdf copy of the Guide is available for download

he author argues that the verdict of the Special Bench in Tata Communications vs. DCIT that stay of demand can be extended by the Tribunal beyond 365 days is the result of inept handling by the department. He calls the situation a “fiasco” for the department and dishes out advice on what can be done to remedy the situation

The author is indignant at the proposal in the Finance Bill 2011 to levy service tax on lawyers. The practitioners of the noble profession are “Officers of Court” and not providers of a crass commercial service, argues the author. To levy the tax on “accrual” basis is deplorable and adds insult to injury claims the author pointing out that the proponents of the World’s second-oldest profession have been following the “receipt” system since time immemorial. The author implores Parliament to introspect carefully before giving sanction and warns that this ill-conceived provision stands a serious risk of being declared unconstitutional

The author is aghast that the Government is contemplating yet another scheme to offer amnesty to tax evaders. The author calls such schemes a “fraud on the honest tax payer and the nation” and reminds the Government of its solemn promise made to the Court that it would not introduce any more amnesty schemes. Amnesty schemes should not be used as a measure to raise revenue says the author and offers a number of practical suggestions to help the Government deal with the menace of tax evasion and increase revenue. Amnesty schemes will not curb tax evasion but will encourage it is the chilling warning given by the author

The author expresses concern over the rampant use of rough-neck techniques for recovery of tax dues. Despite severe reprimand by Courts, there is no improvement in the Department’s behaviour muses the author. The author advises the department to adopt Chanakya’s techniques for recovery and assures that this will benefit the department in the long run

The DTC 2010 has had its fair share of criticism. Before DTC 2010 is steam-rolled into Law, its detractors have a last chance to voice their grievances before a Select Committee which promises to look into all issues objectively. The author urges all tax payers to make the most of this opportunity and starts off by listing a litany of grievances

The Author rues that the Direct Tax Code 2010 is a golden opportunity gone waste. What could have been a revolutionary exercise in tax reforms has been reduced to a pedestrian re-numbering of sections, agonizes the author. But, eternal optimist that he is, all is not lost, says the author and sets out an 11-point agenda to salvage the DTC 2010. Is the draftsman listening?

The author argues that non-residents dread the ‘Force of Attraction’ rule in Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements because it permits the taxation of income arising outside the Contracting State. The ‘Force of Attraction’ rule can also create an anomalous situation where an assessee may be better off under the domestic law than under the tax-treaty law, says the author

The Finance Minister publicly expressed his anguish at the mounting number of frivolous cases filed by the department which are choking the Courts. The author, a public-spirited citizen ever eager to help the FM in such matters, puts on his thinking cap and formulates a 12-point agenda to cure the malaise. If implemented in real earnest, the mindless filing of departmental appeals will cease, assures the author. Is the FM listening?

However, the larger issue that still remains to be addressed is the gross negligence by the department in filing appeals to the High Court. It is common experience that even in matters involving huge revenue implications, appeals are routinely filed after a gross delay. The delay is not just a few days or weeks but several months and even years! Several appeals are dismissed because the officer concerned cannot even think of reasons to justify the delay on his part. Imagine the loss to the public exchequer!