Greetings to all.
Virtual address by Chairman CBDT
On 12th and 13th September 2020 the members of the Federation with many other professional colleagues were enrolled for the first virtual NTC by AIFTP. Shri Bhaskar Patel, Chairman of WZ and his team worked extra miles to make this mega event a grand success. The star attraction was the key note address by Hon’ble Shri P. C. Mody, Chairman Central Board of Direct Taxes. The faceless assessment system and tax payers charter were explained in lucid terms. The Hon’ble Chairman was candid enough to say that they would be open to any suggestions for betterment of taxpayers and tax administrators. Many of the doubts generally raised were dispelled by him including the confirmation that accountability of the tax administrator would also be major harp to make this system successful. The panelist Shri Mukesh Patel along with Sr. Adv. Shri Ganesh Purohitji were ready with 30 pertinent questions to be answered by Dr. Pushpinder Puniha, Principal Chief Commissioner Of Income Tax, National e-Assessment Centre and Shri Kamlesh Varshney, Joint Secretary, Tax Policy and Legislature Government of India.
The interesting discussion which continued for three hours thereafter has cleared majority of doubts about the faceless Assessment scheme. My compliments to Shri Mukesh Patel, international Tax expert and Renowned Advocate from Gujarat for planning, designing and executing the entire session and making it a history. Sr. Advocate Shri Ganesh Purohit, our Past President as usual was at his best. We were able to witness the brighter side of our Secretary General Shri Samir Jani, who raised queries. He has proved to be a valuable asset and left no stone unturned to perfect this occasion with minute details .
Not to miss, the quick, frank and to the point answers given by two top officials that showcased their sharp intellect and expertise on the subject.
The speech and response by all the three Government dignitaries have created a higher level of confidence and faith amongst all the stake holders.
My hearty Congratulations to all connected with the program, including the Chairman of Virtual conference Shri Narendra Sonawane, and other co-organisers namely : Shri Raj Shah, (President GSTPAM), Shri Sharad Suryawanshi (President WMTPA) and Shri Kaushik Vaidya (President CGCTC) and their respective teams. I am informed that around 2574 delegates registered and the program was seen live on Facebook by about 6000 persons.
The rest of the sessions were of great importance to the members practicing the Direct and Indirect Taxes. My sincere thanks to all the fantastic speakers. The Chairman of the respective session added value to their respective session. The YouTube link of each session is available on our website, the members who could not join can take benefit of the same. We have also made available PPT, wherever made available to us by speakers, on our website. I am happy to inform that for the first time e-souvenir was released in the inaugural session of this NTC. Pl read the detailed report in AIFTP times.
Second virtual NTC by Northern Zone
On 2nd and 3rd October, we would be witnessing one more historic event. It would be golden moment for each member as we would be having as Chief Guest and Guests of Honour, the Hon’ble Judges, who have been real Gems of the Federation. After being active in AIFTP, they are elevated as judges of Respective High Courts. Chief Guest Hon’ble Justice Shri Rajesh Bindalji, Jammu and Kashmir High Court was closely associated with the Federation for many years, before his elevation as Judge Punjab and Haryana high Court. The Guest Of Honour Hon’ble Ms. Justice Anita Sumanth, Judge, Madras High Court had been an active Zone Chairman of South zone. Hon’ble Shri Justice Piyush Agarwal, Judge Allahabad High Court has been one of the active NEC member of North Zone. The rest three Hon’ble Guests of Honour are all from the East zone. Hon’ble Shri Justice Ujjal Bhuyanji. A Senior Judge of Bombay High Court is basically from Gauhati. Hon’ble Shri Justice Bhuyanji has participated in many programs Of AIFTP by now. Similarly, Hon’ble Shri Justice Kalyan Rai Surana, Judge Gauhati High Court and Hon’ble Shri Justice Soumitra Saikia, Judge Gauhati High Court have been members of our esteem Association. It would be great pleasure to have them all at one place in a virtual platform It would be an event of legal luminaries and judicial luminaries being present on the same platform. Shri Asim Zafar, North Zone Chairman and Shri Sanjay Kumar, Advocate from Allahabad, the Chairman of the Conference, are on their toes to make this event another historic event. I invite each and every member to participate in the virtual NTC and make it a Grand success.
Felicitation of Advocate Pankaj Ghiya of Central Zone
Shri Pankaj Ghiya, renowned Advocate from Jaipur is pioneer in bringing the webinar culture in AIFTP. I must admit, my first lessons of the webinar are learnt from Shri Pankaj Ghiya. In the first virtual National Tax Conference, the Federation was crossing the magic number 100 webinars, we thought it fit and proper to put on record our appreciation by felicitating him in the First Virtual Conference. But for him it would not have been possible for the Federation to reach out to the thousands of tax consultants in remotest areas of the Country. My Congratulations to him. I am sure he would take the federation to greater heights in the days to come.
Release of the second e-publication
The Federation has team of Seniors and enthusiastic contributors, who have decided to publish a second e-publication containing 151 landmark judgments of the Supreme Court under Direct, Indirect and Allied laws. This e-publication is in the final stage of completion under the able guidance of our past president Senior Advocate Dr. K. Shivaram. This e-publication would be released at the inauguration of the second Virtual National Tax Conference by North Zone. The publication is to celebrate completion of 150th birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji. I am sure, this publication is going to be of immense help to all the consultants of Income Tax and GST. On account of current pandemic situation, we may be withholding the print publication. This publication is dedicated to late Justice Dr. B. P. Saraf former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Expanding the horizon of tax Professionals
Laws relating to direct and Indirect taxes are much more complicated then it should be. Moreover, each act refers to provisions and interpretation under different Acts. It therefore is incumbent on the part of the tax professionals to know in detail each of such laws. Yes, I am talking about allied laws like Evidence act, Information and technology act, Law and procedure of Insolvency and bankruptcy code 2016, Contract act, Hindu law, will and succession act and procedures, Law of writs, Interpretation of Statues, Benami act, law of limitation, Customs act, prevention of Money laundering act, Unjust enrichment and Promissory estoppel, law of affidavits, law of precedents, law of torts, Transfer of Property act, RERA, Consumer Protection act, the facets of natural justice etc. We all know little bit of everything, but now the time has come to go deeper in each of the subjects as also to find applicability and implication of each of these laws under Direct and indirect taxes. We would be having the main sessions by seniors in respective fields and implications under direct and indirect taxes would be discussed by the experts in the field. We intend to have at least 2 hrs sessions on every Saturday/Sunday Morning. I am sure these series would not only enrich the knowledge of members but would also open up new areas of practice.
Representation on Direct & Indirect Tax
The Federation has been persistently representing about the extension of time on account of pandemic. The major compliances under the Income Tax and GST Act involves audit of the accounts under the respective Acts. Although the Government has now been lenient in opening up the lockdown to a great extent, the end of the Covid-19 era is nowhere to be seen. Majority of the cities including the metropolitan cities are reeling under the ever-increasing number of corona infection. The public transport is scarcely available. The local trains and metros are open only for the officials of the government. Under such unprecedented circumstances, the Hon’ble Finance Minister ought to have extended the time for audits at least up to 31st December 2020. Unfortunately, although the Centre has been lenient in giving the relief to the MSME sector as also the common men in the lower strata of the society, I regret to say that there is no relief to the people of middle class and tax professionals. The assessees are still fumbling to gather the data with the limited availability of staff, pressurizing timely compliance may result in incomplete compliance. The Hon’ble Finance Minister ought to have realized the stress under which assesses are trying to recover economically. It would not be wise to further suppress the oppressed. The Federation has been continuously making representation; unfortunately, there is no positive response from the Ministry. The extension of deadline for various compliances under GST Act is equally important. Unfortunately, the recent amendment does not show acceptance of our representation especially for due date of compliances.
An interesting issue which may arise on account of the Supreme Court judgment on suo moto application on 23rd March 2020. The Hon’ble SC has in this suo moto order extended the limitation for all legal compliances. This judgment should squarely apply to the compliances under the Direct Tax. Although the Income Tax Act and GST Act are governed by special law, the Hon’ble Finance Minister must consider the present exceptional circumstances and extend all the compliances dates at least up to 31st Dec 2020. We look forward to having positive and timely response from the Government in this regard.
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Nikita R. Badheka
National President, AIFTP