Hon’ble Shri Arun Jaitely,
Union Minister for Finance,
Ministry of Finance, North Block,
Government of India,
Sub:- Tax Practitioners in our country –necessity for a separate code for all Tax Practitioners –preparation and introduction of Tax Practitioners law –requested Reg.
Apropos the captioned subject, we respectfully submit that AIFTP is a premier apex body of professionals with head quarters at Mumbai in the State of Maharashtra comprising of senior advocates, chartered accountants, company secretaries, cost and management accountants and tax practitioners and it functions through 5 zones in the country. It has always been pioneer in securing, promoting, updating and upgradation of knowledge of law and standards amongst the professionals for which purpose since 4 decades it has been organizing various National Tax Conferences at different places in the country and in a year 4 – 5 such tax conferences would take place and the deliberations will be summed up and suggestions would be made to the respective governments for suitable amendments to the existing laws for the improvement of the economy of the country. Many of our suggestions and proposals submitted every year before annual budget were being accepted by the Government and thus we have been objectively serving the society as well as the revenue, apart from educating the professionals with updated knowledge leading to improvement in the standards.
We submit that on account of certain judicial decisions, some kind of uncertainty coupled with unrest has cropped up amongst a particular class of professionals practising in tax laws by virtue of the licenses / registrations granted in favour of the practitioners by the central / State governments in exercise of the powers under the respective enactments to say Income Tax Act 1961 authorized issuance of license in favaour of Income Tax Practitioners and State Sales Tax law or VAT Acts have provided suitable provision for licensing the Practitioners. It is no doubt true that taxation is one of the most efficacious, complexioned and complicated branch of law which requires not only particular special and skilled craft, legal knowledge but also requires lot of practical knowledge and common sense and the true spirit behind this statement is well known to the Hon’ble Minster who has been a senior counsel in the Supreme Court. As submitted earlier, the apprehension and unrest on account of certain judicial decisions has created a situation amongst the licensed Tax Practitioners that they would be soon out of employment and they will not be allowed to practice any longer. Of course such an impression or apprehension is unfounded.
In this connection, it is respectfully submitted that it is very well known established and repeatedly proven that the very Tax Practitioners either under section 288(2) of Income Tax Act, 1961 or for that matter under various provisions of the Sales Tax law / VAT law have been very honest and sincere in providing themselves as instrumental in protecting as also augmenting the revenue of the State by virtue of educating the tax payers for payment of the legitimate taxes due to the State and the treatment and facility conferred upon them by the statute has been all along very appreciative.
It is therefore submitted that the Income Tax Act identified for authorization of diversified professionals namely Advocates, Chartered Accountants, Cost and Management Accountants, Company Secretaries and Registered Income Tax Practitioners. The role normally assigned to the Tax Practitioners by the respective assessees would be to prepare the returns, draw the financial statements required to be annexed to the return, estimate the advance tax payable every quarter and also assist the assessing authorities in the process of completing assessment proceedings and also to represent the assessees before any adjudicatory authorities namely Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) or the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the registered Tax Practitioners as such not being advocates were never allowed to appear before the courts and their appearance is, on the converse, restricted to the authorities other than the courts.
It is respectfully submitted that taxation law is also a very essential branch of law and as such one cannot deny that tax practice by a practitioner licensed under the statute, is not a law practice , nevertheless such tax law practice cannot be put on par with other civil law or criminal law or other traditional laws and the Tax Practitioners licensed by the statute do possesses altogether different special and technical qualifications touching upon administration of commercial laws such as Income Tax, Sales Tax, VAT, Central Excise etc., However in a given case if the area of litigation crosses the barriers of tax law involving applicability of other branches of law, certainly such diversified legal complications would always be handled and dealt with by the legal counsel alone. So long as the registered Tax Practitioners as rightly held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court do not qualify to appear before the courts, their appearance before the tribunals created under the statute will not do any kind of prejudice or loss to the revenue of the State or would not damage any other category of professionals. On the other hand, their practical experience and practical knowledge coupled with knowledge about accounting procedures would definitely assist the authorities under the statute objectively to reach and arrive at proper, correct and calculated decisions in the interest of revenue and as the revenue either from 1922 or thereafter from 1961 had never suffered any adversaries on account of the appearance of the licensed Tax Practitioners.
While the above one is the practical position, the apprehension lingering in the minds of the Practitioners requreis to be dispelled and removed by brining a separate code namely tax law practice and accordingly we All India Federation of Tax Practitioners in the interest of the lives of lakhs of registered Tax Practitioners and also in the interest of Government and State revenue humbly pray the Hon’ble Finance Minister to consider the factual matrix and our representation / suggestion to bring out a unique / unified Tax Practitioners law bill in India in consultation with the Ministry of Law and justice, Government of India so that the interest of the revenue of the Government would be protected as well as to give a quietus to the fears of the tax professionals of India. It may kindly be appreciated that such unified tax practitioners law is prevailing and existing elsewhere in the universe and the proposed legislation will not eliminate any kind of other professionals and as such it is harmless one and on the other hand it would give a kind of lease of life to the practitioners in the country under you regime to make the hands of the Hon’ble Prime Minister very strong to achieve the goals set before the present government. We also support the representation of likeminded professional brothers and associations who have been advocating in this regard.
We sincerely hope that this unique bill would set a trust to all the misgivings, apprehension and fears amongst fellow tax professionals and provide a secured and safe professional life to them and as such there is every necessity to introduce the same at earliest point of time in the present parliament session. We accordingly urge your goodselves for the bill at the earliest possible.
(Dr. M.V.K. MOORTHY)
National Dy President –AIFTP