“Minimum Government – Maximum Governance” is just phrase only and not a reality.
How nice the wordings are – “Minimum Government – Maximum Governance”! But reality is very far from this. What has been said here is a bitter truth, when we look it from the perspective of taxation laws (both direct and indirect taxes). On 01/07/2017, new law named GST was introduced. It was decorated with words Good and Simple Tax (GST), but in reality the law was drafted in such a manner that it proved to be headache for even tax experts. Twenty nine (yes 29) meetings of GST Council are held so far to correct the mistakes done in drafting this complex law. Hundreds of notifications are issued to tackle this situation which again turned into blearier picture. Law must be drafted in the simple way first and over the time, it can be tightened, but here is the reverse situation.
When we look this slogan of “Minimum Government – Maximum Governance” from the perspective of Income Tax law, then also it seems that picture is quite different. In year 2014, when tax audit report format is changed by CBDT and schemas are released very late, many trade and tax consultant associations had opposed it. Some writ petitions had also been filed against it. In special civil application no. 15075 of 2015 (All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants vs. Central Board of Direct Taxes), Hon’ble Gujarat High Court had dictated to CBDT to “endeavour to ensure that the forms and utilities for e-filing of income tax returns are ordinarily made available on the 1st day of April of the assessment year.” Yet for this Assessment Year 2018-19 (relevant to Financial Year 2017-18), utilities and schemas are released in the mid of May-2018. This is not the limit, as the schemas are going under change after change within a very short time. Till the time software developer makes changes according to previous schema, new schema gets introduced on the next day. Actually, schemas must be released with at least 1 week deferred applicability so that software developers can implement the changes in their softwares within that week and return filing process run smoothly. In contrary to the direction of Hon’ble Gujarat High Court as discussed above, again the format of tax audit report (Form 3CD) is changed by CBDT. Points have been introduced in this tax audit report format regarding reporting of some GST figures which are not concerned at all with Income Tax.
On many days, website of income tax e-filing and/or website of TRACES (TDS) remains closed for maintenance from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. These websites must not be closed for maintenance before 12:00 AM so that people can file returns till that time.
There is nothing wrong in saying that “Bureaucracy has gone into its worst stage.”