I am diligent when it comes to filing my taxes. I have, however, wondered why there is no reward for being proactive about it.
Every year, the government announces a date by which all citizens ideally should file their returns.
However, year on year they push that deadline to accommodate those who make the filings later.
A little appreciation always goes a long way. Every little star that my first grader son gets in his notebooks motivates him to work harder. Then why should it be any different when we grow up and become capable of handling our finances and taxes?
According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes, a new policy that might be passed may benefit all those who file their returns in time. This proposed policy attempts to felicitate honest taxpayers and encourage more citizens to follow suit.
This will be done by giving priority access to honest taxpayers while availing public services at various places, including airports, railway stations and highways.
As per a report published in the Free Press Journal, the proposal will be vetted by the Finance Ministry and sent for final approval to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) before it is cleared by the Union cabinet.
The publication further states how a few years ago, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had emailed appreciation notes to diligent taxpayers under the name of the CBDT Chairman.
What’s in the pipeline:
1. Priority access while availing public services at various places, including airports, railway stations and highways.
2. A hassle-free electronic assessment of taxes.
3. A civic reception held by government bodies where the diligent and honest tax-payers are publicly honoured.
4. A unique identity number could be given to such taxpayers, or their permanent account number (PAN) could be flagged as special as part of this maiden taxpayer felicitation proposal.
Other nations like Malta, Taiwan, Slovakia and Portugal have followed similar ways to encourage taxpayers to make timely payments.
Since 1997 in Malta, the Department of Lotto has been holding a public draw on the 15th of every month, to which taxpayers submit physical and electronic VAT receipts. The lucky winner receives a cash prize amounting to 100 times the tax paid. And that’s not all: multiple prizes are given until the monthly budget is exhausted.
While these are merely suggestions, if and when this policy becomes official, diligent taxpayers will have a reason to cheer.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)