A tax may be defined as a pecuniary burden laid upon individuals or property owners to support the Government, a payment exacted by legislative authority. A tax is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority. Tax law in India consists of direct tax law and indirect tax law, and may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent (often but not always unpaid labour). India has a well-developed taxation structure. The tax system in India is mainly a three-tier system, divided between the Central, State and the Local Government organisations.
Direct tax law of India
Corporate Tax laws have been volatile and dynamic in the past decade. Today, it is imperative to strategise business, bearing in mind the fundamentals of Indian tax laws rather than its provisions. The new direct tax law is operational from April 2012. New statutes often promise to be simpler and less burdensome. Yet, taxes are an item of dynamic cost or outgo to the assessee and tax payers strive to garner tax saving opportunities. Hence assessees, resident and non-residents have to plan their activities in a prudent manner, which necessitates professional assistance.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The CBDT provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax law through Income Tax Department. The CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
Such assistance may encompass domestic and international income-tax matters, inbound investment structuring, tax efficient mergers and acquisitions compliant with Indian corporate and tax laws, expatriate taxation and transfer pricing.
Indirect tax law of India
Indirect taxes are taxes collected by an intermediary from the person who bears the ultimate economic burden of the tax. Direct taxes are collected directly from the person on whom tax is imposed. In India, both the Union Government at the federal level and the provincial or state governments impose various indirect taxes. Customs Duties, Excise Duties, Service Tax and Value Added Tax are examples of indirect tax that India levies. Indirect taxes occupied the numero uno position for a long time in the fiscal history of India. Being a major source of tax revenue for the governments at all tiers, administration of indirect taxes has been witness to different interpretations of provisions and consequential disputes. India is on the threshold of major reforms in this area as Goods and Services Tax (GST) is set to be introduced merging all indirect taxes.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs under the Department of Revenues in the Ministry of Finance deals with the task of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of indirect tax. In exercise of the powers conferred, the Central Government makes for the purpose of the assessment and collection of indirect tax.
The indirect tax law is being administered by various Central Excise Commissione rates, working under the Central Board of Excise & Customs. There are six Commission rates located at metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, which deal exclusively with work related to Service Tax. Directorate of Service Tax at Mumbai oversees the activities at the field level for technical and policy level coordination.