Legal Framework of Taxation in India

15/11/2023 0 By indiafreenotes

The legal framework of taxation in India is a complex system that has evolved over the years to meet the economic and social needs of the country. The Constitution of India provides the basic framework for taxation, and various acts, rules, and regulations have been enacted to govern the levy and collection of taxes.

The legal framework of taxation in India is dynamic and multifaceted. It encompasses a range of direct and indirect taxes, each governed by specific acts and regulations. Ongoing reforms and amendments demonstrate the government’s commitment to adapting the tax system to changing economic realities and global best practices. It’s essential for businesses and individuals to stay informed about these regulations to ensure compliance and navigate the complexities of the Indian tax landscape.

  • Constitutional Provisions:

The power to levy and collect taxes is distributed between the Union (Central) and State governments in India. Articles 245 to 255 of the Constitution define the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States.

  • Entry 82 of List I (Union List):

The Union government has the exclusive power to levy taxes on income other than agricultural income, customs and excise duties, corporation tax, service tax, and other specified taxes.

  • Entry 84 of List I:

The Union government has the exclusive power to impose taxes on the manufacture of tobacco, other than bidi, and alcoholic liquors for human consumption.

  • Entry 54 to 63 of List II (State List):

The State governments have the exclusive power to levy taxes on subjects such as land revenue, taxes on agricultural income, sales tax (now subsumed under the Goods and Services Tax), and other specified taxes.

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST):

The GST, introduced in 2017, is a comprehensive indirect tax that replaced multiple indirect taxes levied by the Union and State governments. It is governed by the Goods and Services Tax Act, which provides a unified system of taxation on the supply of goods and services.

  • Income Tax Act, 1961:

The Income Tax Act governs the levy and collection of income tax in India. It classifies income into various heads, such as salary, business income, capital gains, and others, and prescribes tax rates accordingly. The Act is regularly amended to align with economic changes and policy objectives.

  • Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act and State GST Acts:

These acts, along with the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Act, provide the legal framework for the levy and collection of GST in India. They define the scope of GST, classification of goods and services, input tax credit mechanisms, and compliance requirements.

  • Customs Act, 1962:

The Customs Act empowers the Central government to levy duties on the import and export of goods. It regulates the movement of goods across the country’s borders and outlines the procedures for customs valuation and clearance.

  • Central Excise Act, 1944:

Although the Goods and Services Tax has subsumed the central excise duty, the Central Excise Act was a significant piece of legislation governing the taxation of manufacturing and production activities.

  • Wealth Tax Act, 1957 (Abolished):

The Wealth Tax Act, which imposed a tax on the net wealth of individuals, was in force until 2015 when it was abolished. The wealth tax was a direct tax separate from income tax.

  • Direct Tax Code (DTC):

The government proposed the Direct Tax Code to replace the Income Tax Act to simplify and streamline direct taxation. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the DTC was under consideration.

  • Tax Administration:

The administration of taxes involves various authorities, including the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for direct taxes and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) for indirect taxes. Tax authorities conduct assessments, audits, and investigations to ensure compliance.

  • Tax Dispute Resolution:

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), High Courts, and the Supreme Court handle tax-related disputes. Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as the Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP) and the Advance Ruling Authority, provide avenues for resolving disputes.

  • Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN):

The GSTN is a technology platform that facilitates the implementation of GST. It acts as the interface between taxpayers, the government, and other stakeholders for registration, return filing, and compliance under GST.

  • International Taxation:

India has tax treaties with various countries to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion. The legal framework for international taxation includes transfer pricing regulations and the Equalization Levy on specified digital services.

  • Recent Reforms:

The legal framework has undergone significant reforms, including the introduction of the faceless assessment and appeal scheme, aimed at reducing direct interface between taxpayers and tax authorities to promote transparency and efficiency.Top of Form