PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF DIRECT TAXATION IN INDIA
Prof.Sureswari Prasad Das
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar
INRODUCTION TO DIRECT TAXATION:-
In the general sense, a direct tax is one paid directly to the government by the persons (juristic or natural) on whom it is imposed (often accompanied by a tax return filed by the taxpayer). Examples include some income taxes, some corporate taxes, and transfer taxes such as estate (inheritance) tax and gift tax. In this sense, a direct tax is contrasted with an indirect tax or "collected" tax (such as sales tax or value added tax (VAT)); a "collected" tax is one which is collected by intermediaries who turn over the proceeds to the government and file the related tax return. Some commentators have argued that "a direct tax is one that cannot be shifted by the taxpayer to someone else, whereas an indirect tax can be." An 18th century writing about the tax explained:
| “The power of direct taxation applies to every individual, as congress under this government is expressly vested with the authority of laying a capitation or poll-tax upon every person to any amount. This is a tax that, however oppressive in its nature, and unequal in its operation, is certain as to its produce and simple in it collection; it cannot be evaded like the objects of imposts or excise, and will be paid, because all that a man hath will he give for his head. This tax is so congenial to the nature of despotism, that it has ever been a favorite under such governments. Some of those who were in the late general convention from this state, have long labored to introduce a poll-tax among us.The power of direct taxation will further apply to every individual, as congress may tax land, cattle, trades, occupations, &c. to any amount, and every object of internal taxation is of that nature, that however oppressive, the people will have but this alternative, either to pay the tax, or let their property be taken for all resistance will be vain. The standing army and select militia would enforce the collection.”Direct Taxation in India Direct taxation in India is taken care by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT); it is a division of Department of revenue under Ministry of Finance. CBDT is governed by the revenue act 1963.CBDT is given the authority to create and control direct taxes in India. The most important function of CBDT is to manage direct tax law followed by Income Tax department.
In India the tax structure is divided amongst the central government and state government. The central government levies taxes on income, custom duties, central excise and service tax. While the state government levies tax like state excise, stamp duty, VAT (Value Added Tax), land revenue and professional tax.Local civic bodies levy tax on properties, octroi etc.Capital gains tax, personal income tax, tax on corporate income and tax incentives all come under the purview of direct tax.Direct taxes are charged on the basis of residential status and not on the basis of citizenship. The assessee are charged based upon the following factors * Resident * Resident but not ordinary resident. * Nonresident.Direct Taxes Before Reform:- They had a major impact on economic policies, creation of savings and the trend of investment. There was no proportion in terms of the impact of direct taxes on the economy and there relative share in total tax revenues. The system of direct taxes was very much complex and inefficient because of the combination of high marginal rates of personal income and wealth taxation and high rates of corporate profits. The corporate tax was pretty high. It leads to large scale evasion. Members Of Parliament and Central Government Ministers get comparatively low salaries, but they are given a...