Nine months after the responsibility for Income Tax investigations was taken over by the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the portfolio has now once again been vested with a separate member, in sync with the practice of previous years. The present Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), M C Joshi, had held on to the charge of I-T investigations when he took over on August 1 this year. His predecessors — Sudhir Chandra and Prakash Chandra — had also shouldered the sensitive portfolio during the past nine months in view of the growing furore in the country over black money and the clamour for exposing individuals with ill-gotten funds.
CBDT Member S S Rana will now look after all investigations related to cases of tax evasion and search-and-seizure operations by the I-T Department.
According to the new arrangement, which was recently notified, Chairman Joshi will now exclusively handle the Mumbai Zone portfolio, which has traditionally been held by the CBDT’s top bosses over the years.
Mumbai is the only city identified as a ‘Zone’ by the I-T Department, whereas the rest of the country has been categorised into larger regions like the West and Rajasthan, North and Uttar Pradesh, East and South.
Mumbai contributes the maximum revenue to the government’s direct taxes kitty, accounting for approximately one-third of total collections.
According to sources, Joshi chose to divest the Income Tax investigations portfolio as he is also the chairman of the committee on black money constituted few months back by the government and would like to focus all his attention on this area, besides other major policy decisions of the I-T Department.
Joshi, a 1974 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, will oversee the full operationalisation of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation in the I-T Department during his tenure.
Revision of India’s Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) with various countries, besides ratification of a treaty with Switzerland, are some important steps that are expected to be accomplished during his tenure.
The responsibilities of other CBDT Members will largely remain the same.