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Revenue intelligence officials should cooperate more with global agencies, says FM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said agencies like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) should increase cooperation with their global counterparts to crack down on tax evasion and smuggling. Speaking at a Customs enforcement conference, Jaitley said effective steps to curb tax evasion and avoidance were necessary to ensure “free trade remains fair trade”.

“In an era of free trade and trade liberalisation, there is need for global cooperation and sharing of intelligence information among countries, especially the neighboring ones, to control illicit movement of goods across the border,” he said.

Jaitley also directed revenue intelligence officials to increase the use of technology and develop the ability to read between the lines to check financial malpractices. “The dynamics of revenue intelligence would continue to evolve with changing times. The world is obliterating the distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance,” he said.

The finance minister added there was a time when incentive for tax evasion and smuggling was high. However, with a decline in tax rates, tariffs and duties, the incentive for financial malpractices was down, he said. India has raised the issues concerning tax evasion and avoidance at several international meetings, especially the G-20 deliberations.

Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das, also speaking at the event, said DRI should focus on trade-based money laundering. He asked the Customs and DRI officials to work in a non-intrusive manner, so that legitimate movement of goods and services across the border and within the country was not affected. “Those who are doing trade in a legitimate and fair manner should be encouraged and treated in a friendly manner.”

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