The direct taxes code bill, meant to replace the Income Tax Act, 1961, is likely to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, so that it can be legislated into an Act during next year's monsoon session, joint secretary in the ministry of finance Arobind Modi said on Friday.
The government released the draft code for public debate earlier in the month. Addressing industry leaders and professionals at a seminar on the 'direct tax code' organised by the Bombay Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Modi said the government would improve the code after receiving suggestions from the various stakeholders.
Calling for businesses to actively participate in scrutinising the draft during the 45-day period till the start of the parliament session, Modi said, ''It has taken us four years to arrive at some kind of a consensus and prepare the first draft. It is the responsibility of corporate houses and stakeholders to discuss the content level and cross-reference the technical parts.''
He added that the finance ministry would try to put everything together to ensure that the bill becomes a law by March 2011. "After we draft the rules, we will put it in the public domain for suggestions. We hope to wrap it up before midnight on 31 March 2011," he said.
The ministry has identified 200-odd changes in the code, he said, adding that some 1,000 to 1,500 changes were expected to be carried out before the bill is tabled in Parliament. He said people should view the direct tax code from a long-term perspective, as it seeks to provide stability in the tax regime.
The new code will be applicable for income earned during financial 2011-12, Modi said.