.........BHUBANESWAR: The Commercial Taxes (CT) Directorate has proposed that CT Wing of State Vigilance be disbanded and all its manpower merged with the former.After Vigilance Directorate sought strengthening of its CT Wing operating under its administrative control, the Commercial Taxes Commissioner on Monday submitted the proposal to Finance Department suggesting that there was no need for such an upgradation.
Detection and checking of tax evasion in State Vigilance are not carried out by officers of the anti-corruption bureau, rather it is done by tax officers belonging to Odisha Finance Service, Odisha Taxation and Account Service and Odisha Subordinate Finance Service cadre. These officers are posted in Vigilance Directorate and they perform tax-related activities under taxation statutes by exercising the statutory powers delegated by the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes.
The Commercial Taxes Directorate maintained that all expenses of the CT Wing of Vigilance including salary, TA and DA, office expenses, vehicle and contingency are met by the former out of its own budget. In fact, the Secret Fund, utilised to collect confidential information on tax evasion, is also borne by CT Directorate, and not the Vigilance. “In no other state, there is a separate tax enforcement wing under the Vigilance,” the letter said.
The Commercial Taxes Directorate was of the view that its Enforcement Wing and CT Wing of Vigilance have the same mandate but with over-lapping jurisdiction. While tax administration, including detection and checking of tax evasion, is core mandate of the Commercial Taxes Directorate, it is not the same with Vigilance though it was assigned by the State Government in 1968 when scenario was different.
However, with the roll-out of GST, enforcement activities will undergo a fundamental change because random physical checking will give away to intelligence-based investigation based on digital data mining. Besides, in the GST regime, the State Taxation Authority will have to work in sync with Central Board for Excise and Customs whereas it would be difficult on part of Vigilance to maintain that coordination.
That apart, the Commercial Taxes organisation has been closely involved with GST implementation from the beginning which gives it an edge. Under such circumstances, the Commercial Taxes Directorate proposed that all sanctioned posts in CT Wing of Vigilance be placed back under its disposal. Currently, it has six ranges and 15 investigation units while Government has decided to establish six more units which would require more manpower.In case of tax fraud, the Commercial Taxes Directorate said it can seek support of Economic Offences Wing under Crime Branch.