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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hints at tax reduction
Monday December 26, 2016 7:07 PM, IANS

Arun Jaitley

Hinting at reduction in taxes in the coming few years, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that in order to be globally competitive, India will have to move to a lower taxation regime.

"What you need is lower level of taxation, to provide services more competitive in nature. Competition is not domestic, it is global. There is a need to lower level of taxation as we broad base economy," Jaitley said.

The Finance Minister was speaking at the inauguration of professional training of 68th batch of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) - customs and central excise officers at the National Academy of Customs Excise and Narcotics here.

"This is one important change you will witness while you will be in service," Jaitley told the IRS officers.

Extraordinary high taxation rates in the past have led to higher tax evasions which necessitates lower taxes and a tax-friendly environment, he said.

Emphasising that as the country moves to a tax-friendly environment, the Finance Minister said that the authorities need to be fair in interpreting the tax laws.

"Tax authorities are judged by the quality of what they write or what they decide. Level of fairness followed by tax authorities will define the quality of interpretation of tax laws by tax authorities. There are no grey areas in taxation laws," he said.

"Voluntary compliance by citizens by payment of due taxes needs to be reciprocated by tax authorities by a tax-friendly administration," he added.

In many economies while they develop, payment of taxes is part of citizens' duty, the Finance Minister added.

Officers should have a high-level of integrity, honesty, sincerity and do hard work with eagerness to learn new things, he said.

Referring to the new indirect tax regime of Goods and Services Tax (GST) that is expected to be implemented from next financial year, Jaitley said that the process of tax convergence is on and cooperation of the Centre and state officers is required in the process.

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