On 30 August, 2010, the Finance Minister tabled the Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010 (DTC) in the Parliament for debate and discussion. The Bill addressed the issues raised by various stakeholders. It was then referred to a Standing Committee on Finance which after collating the representations made by various stakeholders and the response of the Ministry of Finance prepared a report with its recommendations. This report was released in March 2012. The response of the Ministry of Finance and the recommendations of the Standing Committee provide clarity and are indicative of the forthcoming approach that can be expected in the final version of the Direct Taxes Code to be released.
The DTC will be effective from 1 April, 2013. This gives companies time to understand the provisions, engage in a dialogue with the government and, restructure their operations as they switch over to taxation under the DTC. It also, gives the government time to gear up its systems to accept and audit additional new compliance requirements imposed on taxpayers.
A number of stringent proposals were introduced in the original DTC debate in 2009. There were several areas of concern. Most of them, such as asset-based minimum alternative tax (MAT), treaty override, etc. were addressed by the Finance Minister with the release of a revised discussion paper earlier this year. The new set of proposals is in line with the provisions of current law with major changes on account of anti-avoidance provisions and phasing out of profit-linked exemptions. A number of areas are subject to detailed guidelines to be framed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) of the government.