Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked revenue intelligence officials to be “facilitators” for taxpayers and ensure they do not feel intimidated when it comes to paying taxes. “There are times when I have gone around the country in the last few months to meet up with officers of tax authorities, I have sent the message that we are facilitators. “One or two black sheep among us should not change the narrative (and) people start feeling that tax authorities… are difficult to deal with and can become very demanding,”Sitharaman said. She was speaking at the passing out parade ceremony of the 69th Batch of IRS (Customs and Central Excise) at the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics, Faridabad. Sitharaman said the new officers have a better and a bigger role to play as facilitators and explain to taxpayers that everyone should pay his/her share of taxes.
The 2017 batch of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) consists of 101 officers, including 24 women officers. These young officers will be at the helm of administering GST that is billed as India’s biggest tax reform since Independence. The minister highlighted the importance of customs in enforcing different laws of the land at the borders and protecting the economic frontiers of the country. She also emphasized the role of graduating officers in adjudicating the laws with a conscience, and collection of revenue with integrity, which should add up to nation-building.
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman P K Das, in his speech, highlighted the need to maintain a fine balance between law enforcement and trade facilitation.During the passing out ceremony, six officer trainees who excelled in different areas of training were awarded medals. Mishal Queenie D’Costa received the Finance Minister’s Gold Medal for the best overall performance.