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Nirmala Sitharaman

Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs
Government of India

Dy. No. 1759745 FM/FMP/2021



My heartiest felicitation to the Income Tax Department on the occasion of the 161st Income Tax Day. System of Direct Tax in India, though, is much older than that. Our ancient texts are replete with references to planned system of revenue collection based on principles of equity and justice and utilization of revenues for the greater good of the society. The same principles of equity, justice and fairplay in tax administration permeate our tax policy even today.

FM message to Income Tax Department on 161st Income Tax Day

Our Government is committed to provide a stable and predictable tax regime, with conceptual clarity at policy level and easy compliance requirements at implementation level. Since 2014, the Government has undertaken a series of reforms including rationalization of the tax rates, easing compliance obligations, reducing scope for discretion in the exercise of powers and infusing transparency. While the overall policy norms are set by the legislative framework, their intended impact can be realized only if the tax department is able to implement those policy measures in the right spirit at the operational level. I am happy to note that the Income Tax Department has been largely successful in this regard.

The honest taxpayer deserves to be recognized for the contribution she/he is making to the progress of the nation by dutifully paying their due share of taxes. Guided by this objective, the Department has pioneered the ‘Honoring the Honest’ initiative and also adopted the Taxpayers’ Charter in the past year. These reforms place the honest taxpayers at the centre of the departmental functioning, with all the procedures and processes conforming to the paramount consideration of taxpayer’s convenience. The adoption of Faceless Assessment, Faceless Appeals and Faceless Penalty regimes represent a giant stride towards making the department’s functioning hassle-free, fair and transparent.

The continuing surge in the Covid19 pandemic brought with it a new set of challenges for the health and the economy of the nation. I am satisfied to see that the Department has risen to the challenge and proactively undertook several initiatives to relax the procedural requirements for taxpayers including easing compliances and expeditious release of refunds as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. It is heartening to note that the taxpayers also justified the trust reposed in them by discharging their compliance obligations despite all the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

While observing this 161st Income Tax Day, it would be befitting to remember those officers and staff of the Income Tax Department who lost their lives in the line of duty due to the pandemic. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the departed souls. Their contributions to the national cause can never be forgotten. I also commend the efforts of officers and officials of the Department to help those in need, well beyond their call of duty.

My compliments to the Department for having achieved its target of tax collection in the last fiscal and I believe that it will improve upon its performance in the current year.

Best wishes to all officers and officials of the Income Tax Department on the occasion of Income Tax Day, 2021.

[Nirmala Sitharaman]

Income Tax Department on the occasion of the 161st Income Tax Day

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June 2024