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India Seeks to Reduce Tax Litigation

India's Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a circular revising the monetary limits for the filing of legal appeals by the tax authority to reduce disputes with taxpayers.

Under existing rules, the CBDT can appeal to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in cases where the level of disputed tax is at least INR400,000 (USD6,000), and to the High Courts in cases involving at least INR1m. The circular, issued by the Ministry of Finance on December 15, revises these thresholds to INR1m and INR2m, respectively. The new rules also apply retrospectively to pending cases.

The CBDT has also issued an Office Memorandum calling for the formation of an advisory board of Chief Commissioners of Income Tax, comprising of two officers in each region. This board will consider the withdrawal of appeals filed by the Department to the High Courts in cases involving tax above the revised monetary limit if no question of law is involved, or if the issue is considered settled by the Department.

According to the Ministry of Finance, these measures are expected to reduce pending appeals filed by the Department by 50 percent and "provide relief to taxpayers facing long-standing litigation".

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