Circular No. ES/250/2020-21 7th July, 2020
To : Members of the Council
Sub.: News report of Merger of two Boards of Revenue factually incorrect
As you may be aware, a news item has been published on 6th July, 2020 in a leading newspaper that the Government is considering proposal to merge the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). This news item is factually incorrect as the Government has no proposal to merge the two Boards created under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963. In this regard, a Press Release has been issued by the Ministry of Finance on 6th July, 2020.
This news has been published without due verification of facts from the competent authorities of Ministry of Finance and only creates a policy distraction when the Ministry is amidst implementation of a large number of taxpayers’ friendly reforms like transition from manual assessment based on territorial jurisdiction to a completely randomized electronic faceless assessment, electronic verification or transactions and faceless appeals.
As pointed out in the report, the said merger was one of the recommendations of the Tax Administrative Reforms Commission (TARC). The report of TARC was examined in detail by the Government and this recommendation of TARC was not accepted by the Government.
As a part on an assurance made by the Government in the Parliament in response to a Parliament question, the Government has also placed this fact in 2018 before the Committee on Government Assurances. The action taken report on the recommendations of the TARC is placed even on the website of the Department of Revenue, which clearly shows that this recommendation was not accepted.
It is evident that this misleading article has been published with no due diligence of even checking official records placed in the public domain or checking the latest status with relevant competent authorities in the Ministry of Finance. It not only reflects poorly on the quality of journalism but also shows a complete disregard for due diligence. If such an unverified story is given a front-page lead story position, it should be a concern for all news reading public. This news item is completely rejected as baseless and unverified.
This is for your information.