Sunday, June 30, 2002

Give us a break!

The new tax returns forms, running into 10 pages (and nine more of explanatory notes), make a travesty of the word Saral.
Gautam Chikermane
Mr Yashwant Sinha
Finance Minister
Ministry of Finance
North Block
New Delhi - 110001
Dear Mr Minister,
Thank you for convincing me that I’m no common man: I’m one of only 20 million taxpayers in this country, which makes me a very rare specimen of our species indeed. Someone the government ought to treat with samman–to borrow one of the many meaningless words in the dense tax lexicon –for thanklessly financing its profligacy. A man who, even as he bears the weight of the economy and pays for the sins of tax evaders, is at the rock bottom of the pecking order of political attention. Way below the various vote banks, money banks and muscle banks.
The list of injustices done to tax-paying citizens is long and unending, but the latest crude and insensitive joke is Saral ITS-2 and Saral ITS-3, a particularly warped variant of the form released in July 1999. These are forms individuals have to fill while filing their tax returns. A sample of disclosures we’re expected to make:
Column in Outlook Money

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