The government’s efforts to improve the indirect tax regime and make it more taxpayer friendly have got the thumbs up from a majority of respondents in a survey conducted by the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
While 72% of respondents said they saw a “perceptible” change in policies of CBEC, 45% said they saw an attitudinal change among senior functionaries and 51% acknowledged improvement at the ground level, at the level of inspectors and above.
“This should come as heartening news for India Inc, as it is the inspector raj which is considered as the most stubborn stumbling block to improving tax environment,” the finance ministry said in a statement. The survey was conducted jointly by industry lobby Ficci and professional services firm KPMG on behalf of the government.
About 45,000 people across the country participated in the survey.
The key question was: “Do you feel a perceptible change in policies of the CBEC by way of becoming liberal and friendly to the taxpayer?” The finance ministry said, “The fact that a tax department had the gumption to ask such a question and the taxpayers having actually acknowledged positively, both are a harbinger of increasing maturity of the regulatory ecosystem of India.”
The questionnaire sought responses on interaction experience with senior and junior functionaries of the department, dispute resolution, ITenabled services, refund claims and sectoral reforms.
The survey sought to know whether the CBEC administration was becoming less adversarial in a bid to get a feedback on the charge of “tax terrorism” that was seen as a barrier to foreign investment.
With 32% respondents saying there is a change, the CBEC said this is indicative of an improving trend but it shows much more needs to be done. CBEC said its most outstanding achievement was getting the customs single-window project off the blocks on April 1, pushed by the Prime Minister’s Office and cabinet secretary, bringing together six ministries at a single window.
The department has created a number of WhatsApp groups to keep stakeholders involved. In the survey, 76% respondents found improvement in customs clearance process while 75% said they were satisfied by the IT enabled services.
Source: Economic Times