Department of the Army Historical Summary Fiscal Year 1978
A tax called yatravetana was levied on pilgrims. Though revenues were collected from all possible sources, the underlying philosophy was not to exploit or over-tax people but to provide them as well as to the State and the King, immunity from external and internal danger. The revenues collected in this manner were spent on social services such as laying of roads, setting up of educational institutions, setting up of new villages and such other activities beneficial to the community.
The reason why Kautilya gave so much importance to public finance and the taxation system in the Arthasastra is not far to seek. According to him, the power of the government depended upon the strength of its treasury. He states — "From the treasury, comes the power of the government, and the Earth whose ornament is the treasury, is acquired by means of the Treasury and Army". However, he regarded revenue and taxes as the earning of the sovereign for the services which were to be rendered by him to the people and to afford them protection and to maintain law and order.
Kautilya emphasised that the King was only a trustee of the land and his duty was to protect it and to make it more and more productive so that land revenue could be collected as a principal source of income for the State. According to him, tax was not a compulsory contribution to be made by the subject to the State but the relationship was based on Dharma and it was the King's sacred duty to protect its citizens in view of the tax collected and if the King failed in his duty, the subject had a right to stop paying taxes, and even to demand refund of the taxes paid.
Kautilya has also described in great detail the system of tax administration in the Mauryan Empire. It is remarkable that the present day tax system is in many ways similar to the system of taxation in vogue about years ago. According to the Arthasastra, each tax was specific and there was no scope for arbitratiness.
Precision determined the schedule of each payment, and its time, manner and quantity being all pre-determined. The import duties on foreign goods were roughly 20 per cent of their value. Similarly, tolls, road cess, ferry charges and other levies were all fixed. Kautilya's concept of taxation is more or less akin to the modern system of taxation. His over all emphasis was on equity and justice in taxation. The affluent had to pay higher taxes as compared to the not so fortunate. People who were suffering from diseases or were minor and students were exempted from tax or given suitable remissions.
The revenue collectors maintained up-to-date records of collection and exemptions. The total revenue of the State was collected from a large number of sources as enumerated above.
There were also other sources like profits from Stand land Sita religious taxes Bali and taxes paid in cash Kara. Vanikpath was the income from roads and traffic paid as tolls. He placed land revenues and taxes on commerce under the head of tax revenues. These were fixed taxes and included half yearly taxes like Bhadra, Padika, and Vasantika. Custom duties and duties on sales, taxes on trade and professions and direct taxes comprised the taxes on commerce. The non-tax revenues consisted of produce of sown lands, profits accuring from the manufacture of oil, sugarcane and beverage by the State, and other transactions carried on by the State.
Commodities utilised on marriage occasions, the articles needed for sacrificial ceremonies and special kinds of gifts were exempted from taxation.
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All kinds of liquor were subject to a toll of 5 precent. Tax evaders and other offenders were fined to the tune of panas. Kautilya also laid down that during war or emergencies like famine or floods, etc.
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The people engaged in commerce were to pay big donations to war efforts. Taking an overall view, it can be said without fear of contradiction that Kautilya's Arthasastra was the first authoritative text on public finance, administration and the fiscal laws in this country. His concept of tax revenue and the on-tax revenue was a unique contribution in the field of tax administration. It was he, who gave the tax revenues its due importance in the running of the State and its far-reaching contribution to the prosperity and stability of the Empire.
It is truly an unique treatise. It lays down in precise terms the art of state craft including economic and financialadministration. The rapid changes in administration of direct taxes, during the last decades, reflect the history of socio-economic thinking in India. From to the present day changes in direct tax laws have been so rapid that except in the bare outlines, the traces of the I. Act, can hardly be seen in the Act as it stands amended to date.
It was but natural, in these circumstances, that the set up of the department should not only expand but undergo structural changes as well. The organisational history of the Income-tax Department starts in the year The Income-tax Act, , gave, for the first time, a specific nomenclature to various Income-tax authorities.
The foundation of a proper system of administration was thus laid. In , Central Board of Revenue Act constituted the Board as a statutory body with functional responsibilities for the administration of the Income-tax Act. Commissioners of Income- tax were appointed separately for each province and Assistant Commissioners and Income-tax Officers were provided under their control. The amendments to the Income tax Act, in , made two vital structural changes: i appellate functions were separated from administrative functions; a class of officers, known as Appellate Assistant Commissioners, thus came into existence, and ii a central charge was created in Bombay.
In , with a view to exercising effective control over the progress and inspection of the work of Income-tax Department throughout India, the very first attached office of the Board, called Directorate of Inspection Income Tax - was created. As a result of separation of executive and judicial functions, in , the Appellate Tribunal came into existence.
In the same year, a central charge was created in Calcutta also. During to , Excess Profits Tax and Business Profits Tax were introduced and their administration handed over to the Department These were later repealed in and respectively. In , the 1st Voluntary Disclosure Scheme was brought in.
It was during this period, in , that a few Group 'A' officers were directly recruited. In , Taxation on Income Investigation Commission was set up which was declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court in but the necessity of deep investigation had by then been realised.
In , the Directorate of Inspection Investigation was set up. It was in this year that a new cadre known as Inspectors of Income Tax was created. The increase in 'large income' cases necessitated checking of the work done by departmental officers. Training them was important. The new recruits were sent to Bombay and Calcutta where they were trained, though not in an organised manner. In , I. Direct Taxes Staff College started functioning in Nagpur. Today this attached office of the Board functions under a Director-General.
It is called the National Academy of Direct Taxes. By , the I. Consequently, the Central Board of Revenue Act, was passed.
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Finally, the need for a permanent settlement mechanism resulted in the creation of the Settlement Commission. The recovery of arrears of tax which till was the function of State authorities was passed on to the departmental officers. A whole new wing of Officers - Tax Recovery Officers was created and a new cadre of post of Tax Recovery Commissioners was introduced w.
The Commissioners' cadre was further reorganised and five posts of Chief Commissioners Administration were created in Initially computerisation of processing of challans was taken up. For this 3 computer centres were first set up in in metropolitan cities using SN systems.
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This was later extended to 33 major cities by The computerized activities were subsequently extended to allotment of PAN under the old series, allotment of TAN, and pay roll accounting. These computer centres used batch process with dumb terminals for data entry. In a Working Group was set up by the Government to recommend computerisation of the department. Based on the report of the Working Group a comprehensive computerisation plan was approved by the Government in October, PCs were first provided to officers in these cities in phases.
Network with leased data circuits were accordingly set up in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in Phase-I during A National Computer Centre was set up at Delhi in Integrated application software were developed and deployed during Thereafter, RS type mid range servers were provided in the other 33 Computer Centres in various major cities in These were connected to the National Computer Centre through leased lines. PCs were provided to officers of different level upto ITOs in stages between and The aforementioned objectives have been sought to be achieved by the department through a multi-pronged strategy of :.
Changes in administrative set up since the inception of the department: The organisational history of the Income-tax Department starts in the year Important events affecting the administrative set up in the Income-tax department: Appellate functions separated from inspecting functions.