On 26 January 2016, several leading Indian newspapers reported on a speech by Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley at the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

Referring to the report of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) chaired by Dr. Parthasarathi Shome, Minister Jaitley said, “The Shome Committee report…has suggested reforms in tax administration…(it) has given several recommendations that we are at a very advanced stage of looking into.” There was widespread media speculation that the Finance Minister would address TARC recommendations in the forthcoming Union (national) Budget on 28 February.

The TARC was set up by the previous Indian government to “review application of tax policies and laws in the context of global best practices, and to recommend measures for reforms required in tax administration.” Shome’s Commission submitted four reports and two summary volumes to the present Indian Government, outlining many administrative and legal tax reforms. Among others, it recommended the merger of the two separate direct tax and indirect tax Boards, which it found to artificially separate administrative functions that should be ideally combined, following prevailing global practices.

Dr. Shome currently is Chairman, International Tax Research and Analysis Foundation (ITRAF) in Bangalore, and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Tax and Investment Center.

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