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  • Taxation is a term for when an authority, mostly a government, imposes an involuntary financial obligation on its citizens/ residents/corporations/companies etc.
  • It is a way of Income Redistribution.
  • Swaran Singh Committee recommended Duty to Pay taxes to be added in the Fundamental DutyArticle 51A. However, this was not included. So, Duty to Pay taxes is not a Fundamental Duty.



Tax should be equal and proportionate to income. Raising taxes while incurring least amount of expenses. Dates, slabs, percentages

should be definite and told in advance.

In terms of understanding the tax structure, computing, filing and paying of taxes.



The size of a country’s tax resources in relation to its GDP.


  • Financial position the country good.
  • It reduces a government’s dependence on borrowings
  • Tax buoyancy is strong
  • Constrains the government to spend and puts pressure on the government to meet its fiscal deficit targets.





Tax Incidence
  • It is the one who actually pays tax. True burden of a tax is given by incidence and not impact.
Tax Impact
  • It is the entity on whom tax is imposed. The entity has the legal responsibility to pay taxes.
Tax Shifting
  • When incidence of a tax differs from the impact of the tax, it is tax shifting.
Tax base
  • Volume of goods and services on which tax is imposed




1991-1993 Chelliah Committee The tax reforms began with Chelliah committee recommendations for reforming India’s tax system
1986 JHA Committee VAT introduced. Recommended the transforming of Union excise duties into a modified value added tax (MODVAT)
2002 Vijay Kelkar Committee Abolition of wealth tax. Abolish Minimum Alternative Task,
2003 Kelkar Task Force Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management

(FRBM) recommends GST

2006 launch of GST was announced from 2010
2015 Asim Das Committee State Level VAT was introduced
2014-16 Introduces 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill 2014 in

16th Lok Sabha. Ultimately, it was passed &became 101st

Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016


  • FAIRNESS– both in terms of Horizontal equity and Vertical equity. Individuals in identical or similar situations paying identical or similar taxes is known as horizontal equity. When people in higher tax brackets people pay more taxes, it is known as vertical equity.
  • EFFICIENCY- should be able to raise resources via taxes with least amount of difficulty to the taxpayers.
  • SIMPLICITY– in terms of understanding the tax structure, computing, filing and paying of taxes. This will increase Tax compliance among the masses and in turn increase the revenue resource of the government.
  • FLEXIBLE-should be able to change according to the needs of the time.
  • TRANSPARENT– The individual assessment of taxes, the total collection, the amount spent on public goods using those resources etc should be in a transparent manner.


  • PROGRESSIVE TAX– As Income increases the tax increases. E.g.-Income Tax.
  • REGRESSIVE TAX-The tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases. It is applied uniformly so it takes a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners and hence considered regressive in nature. e.g.- Sales Tax
  • PROPORTIONAL TAX– where the same percentage tax is levied on everyone regardless of income.
  • RETROSPECTIVE TAXATION– It allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from time behind the date on which the law is passed. Countries use this route to correct any anomalies in their taxation policies that have, in the past, allowed companies to take advantage of such loopholes.


Central Taxes

  • Central Excise duty
  • Additional duties of excise
  • Excise duty levied under Medicinal & Toilets Preparation Act
  • Additional duties of customs (CVD & SAD)
  • Service Tax
  • Surcharges & Cesses
State Taxes

  • State VAT / Sales Tax
  • Central Sales Tax
  • Purchase Tax
  • Entertainment Tax (other than those levied by local bodies)
  • Luxury Tax
  • Entry Tax (A11 forms)
  • Taxes on lottery, betting & gambling
  • Surcharges &Cesses




DIRECT TAX Direct tax is a type of tax where the incidence and impact of taxation fall on the same entity. Incidence = Impact. e.g.- Income Tax, Corporation Tax.
INDIRECT TAX where the incidence and impact of taxation does not fall on the same entity. Taxes that can be shifted from one individual to another like sales tax, entertainment tax, excise duty. Incidence ≠ Impact.


  • The Task Force, initially headed by former CBDT Member (Legislation) Arbind Modi and later on by Akhilesh Ranjan,was constituted in November 2017 in order to review the Income-tax Act and to draft a new Direct Tax Law.
  • The proposals in the draft code are aimed at bringing more certainty to taxation of personal and corporate income and capital gains, and at bringing the gist of numerous judicial pronouncements made since 1961, when the current tax law came into force, in one place for easy reference.





On Income

  • Corporation Tax (6.81 in RS lakh crores)
  • Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT)
  • Dividend Distribution tax, Capital Gains tax.
  • Agriculture tax,
  • Professional tax

On Assets

  • Securities Transaction Tax,
  • Commodities Transaction Tax
  • Land Revenue,
  • Stamp/Registration duty.
  • Property tax in urban areas.
On Expenditure
  • Fringe Benefit Tax,
  • Gift Tax


Share of taxes in descending order according to Budget 2020: GST > Corporation Tax > Income Tax > Union Excise Duty, Customs Duty


MAT is calculated at 18.5% on the book profit (the profit shown in the profit and loss account) or at the usual corporate rates, and whichever is higher is payable as tax. All companies in India, whether domestic or foreign, fall under this provision. MAT was later extended to cover non-corporate entities as well.




Google Tax/ Equalisation Levy/ GAFA Tax

  • To tax India revenue of foreign firms with no permanent establishments in India.
  • With the intention of taxing the digital transactions -the income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India.
  • GAFA TAX – France has taxed major companies – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple.

Minimum Alternative Tax

  • To facilitate the taxation of ‘zero tax companies’-the companies which show zero or negligible income to avoid tax, despite showing hefty book profits.
  • They are liable to pay a certain % of their book profit.
  • All companies in India, whether domestic or foreign, fall under this.

Angel Tax

  • It is the income tax payable by start-ups on capital raised via the issue of shares.
  • To make sure that the money coming in was genuine and to minimise fraud.
Dividend Distribution Tax
  • It is a tax levied on dividends that a company pays to its shareholders out of its profits.




Securities Transaction Tax Tax levied at the time of purchase and sale of securities listed on stock exchanges.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Any profit or gain that arises from the sale of a ‘capital asset’ is a Capital Gain and tac has to be paid on that, called the Capital Gains Tax. it can be short-term or long-term.
Commodities Transaction Tax Applicable for those dealing in trading of commodities.
Tobin Tax/Robinhood Tax Taxing short term currency market transactions to combat market volatility.




Ad Valorem Tax It is based on the value of the transaction or the property. E.g. VAT.
VAT VAT is an indirect tax having a multi-point tax collection- imposed and collected at different points of value addition chain. It has a cascading effect.
Excise Tax On goods produced or manufactured in the country.
Customs Duty On goods imported and exported out of the country.

The total indirect tax collections are estimated to be Rs 10,96,520 crore in 2020-21. Of this, the government has estimated to raise Rs 6,90,500 crore from GST.


  • Established by the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act, on the lines of “One Nation One Tax”.
  • The Parliament and the state legislatures have concurrent powers to implement GST
  • It is a destination-based single tax.
  • Tax slabs are 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%
  • 3 taxes are applicable within GST:
  1. Centre levies the CENTRAL GST (CGST)
  2. State levies STATE GST (SGST)
  3. Centre levies INTEGRATED GST (IGST) on transactions
  • Parliament will compensate for any loss faced by the state.
  • Lottery, Gambling and Betting are also taxable under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, 2017.




  • Central GST Act, 2017
  • Integrated GST Act,2017
  • GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017
  • Union Territory GST Act, 2017
  • GST Constitutional 101 Amendment Act, 2016




  • Alcohol for human consumption,
  • Petroleum products,
  • Electricity, The supply of goods to the SEZ,
  • Supply of goods that come under zero rate
  • Fresh vegetables, fresh milk, cereals meat etc.
  • Raw materials.




For the Government

  • Increase tax Compliance
  • Create a unified common market
  • Discourage Tax evasion
  • Taxation Streamlining
For the overall economy

  • Reduce corruption
  • Bring about certainty
  • Poverty Reduction
  • Boost secondary sector
For the State

  • Expansion of the tax base.
  • Increase Compliance.
  • Enhance Investment
  • Improve the Investment Scenario.


GST COUNCIL (Art. 279A):
  • It is a Constitutional body under Article 279A.
  • Decision – majority of 3/4th members.
  • Quorum is 1/2 of the total number of members of the council


Union Representations

  • Chairperson- Union Finance Minister.
  • Minister of State for Revenue (Central Government) will be a member
  • 1/3rd voting share

State Representations

  • Minister of Finance from each State or Minister nominated by the States will be its member including Delhi and Puducherry.
  • 2/3rd voting share
  • Members of the Council from the states have to choose 1 amongst themselves to be the Vice chairperson of the council. They can also decide his term


  • It is an option available to a registered taxpayer.
  • Small taxpayers can get rid of tedious GST formalities and pay GST at a fixed rate of turnover.
  • This scheme can be opted by any taxpayer whose turnover is less than Rs. 1.5 crore. In case of North-Eastern states and Himachal Pradesh, the limit is now Rs 75 lakh.



Lesser compliance (returns, maintaining books of record, issuance of invoices). A limited territory of business.


Limited tax liability. No Input Tax Credit available to composition dealers
High liquidity as taxes are at a lower rate.


The taxpayer will not be eligible to supply non-taxable goods under GST such as alcohol and goods through an e-commerce portal.





National Anti Profiteering Authority (NAPA)

  • Under Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
  • It is the institutional mechanism to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community and to ensure that the benefits of the GST are passed on to the consumers.
  • NAPA is headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.


GSTN Network

  • It is a non-profit, government organization.
  • It will manage the entire IT system of the GST portal
  • 100% share are owned by the Centre and State government.
  • It will establish a uniform interface for the taxpayer and also create a common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre and States.
  • The GSTN will handle: Invoices + Various returns + Registrations + Payments & Refunds.


  • It is a mechanism to avoid cascading of taxes.
  • Input credit means at the time of paying tax on output, one can reduce the tax one has already paid on inputs and just pay the balance amount.
  • Cross utilisation of input tax credit is available


  • The receiver becomes liable to pay the tax, i.e., the chargeability gets reversed.
  • Self-invoicing is to be done when you have purchased from an unregistered supplier and such purchase of goods or services falls under reverse charge.



  • It was introduced as relief for States for the loss of revenues arising from the implementation of GST.
  • As per the GST Act, states are guaranteed compensation for any revenue shortfall below 14% growth (base year 2015-16) for the first five years ending 2022.
  • GST compensation is paid using funds specifically collected as compensation cess- is levied on products considered to be sin or luxury goods.


  • It is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the e-Way Bill Portal
  • It was launched to:
  • Facilitate faster movement of goods.
  • Improve the turnaround time of vehicles.
  • It helps track intra-state as well as inter-state movements of goods of value exceeding Rs 50,000, for sales beyond 10 km in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.


  • Chairman – N K Singh.
  • Tax contribution/effort is added in this 15 finance commission
  • Key recommendations in the first report (2020-21 period) include:
  • The share of states in the centre’s taxes is recommended to be decreased from 42% during the 2015-20 period to 41% for 2020-21.
  • The 1% decrease is to provide for the newly formed union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh from the resources of the central government.


It is the distance of the state’s income from the state with the highest income. States with lower per capita income would be given a higher share to maintain equity among states. To reward states with higher tax collection efficiency. Population data of 2011, to reward efforts made by states in controlling their population. States with a lower fertility ratio will be scored higher on this criterion.





Cascading Effect
  • It is a tax on tax. It makes the tax rate much higher than the original rate.
Tax Buoyancy
  • It measures the responsiveness of tax mobilisation to economic growth/GDP.
Tax Elasticity
  • % change in adjusted tax revenue ÷ % change in income.
Tax Expenditure/ Revenue Forgone
  • It is the opportunity cost of taxing at concessional rates like giving exemptions, deductions, rebates, etc. to the tax payers.

Laffers Curve

  • Relationship between Government tax revenue and tax rates.
Pigouvian Tax


  • It is the tax on companies that create negative externalities and adverse effects on the society. e.g.- carbon emissions tax or a tax on plastic bags.
Tax Mitigation/ Tax Planning
  • It refers to financial planning for tax efficiency. It is not illegal or unethical. It is Financial Prudence.
Tax Avoidance
  • It is the use of legal methods to minimize the amount of income tax owed by an individual or a business by claiming as many deductions and credits as are allowable.
Tax Evasion
  • It is an illegal activity in which a person/entity deliberately avoids paying a true tax liability.
Tax Inversion
  • Form of tax avoidance where a firm bases its headquarters in a low tax country while keeps its material operations in the high tax countries.
Black Money
  • Funds earned through illegal activity or the income concealed from the tax authorities.
Money Laundering
  • It is an illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by a criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source.
Tax Haven
  • It is an offshore country that offers little or no tax liability. Eg- Cayman-islands, Singapore etc.
  • It is the informal way of money transfer. “money transfer without money movement.
Tax Terrorism
  • Undue exercise of power by tax authorities to levy taxes using legal or extra-legal means.
Advance Pricing Agreements
  • It is an agreement between a taxpayer and the tax authority determining the Transfer Pricing methodology for future years.
Transfer Pricing
  • Is the setting of the price for goods and services sold between controlled/ related legal entities can be situated in different countries within an enterprise.



  • It is imposed over and above the tax for a specific predetermined purpose like Swachh Bharat Cess.
  • The revenue from cess is not kept under Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Cess is not to be shared with States
  • Cess is resorted to only when there is a need to meet the particular expenditure for public welfare.
  • Cess is not a permanent source of revenue for the government, and it is discontinued when the purpose of levying it is fulfilled.
  • It can be levied on both indirect and direct taxes.



  • It is an additional charge on tax.
  • The revenue from the surcharge is kept under Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Surcharge is not to be shared with states
  • It is added to an existing tax and is not included in the stated price of the good or service.
  • It is levied for extra services or to defray the cost of increased commodity pricing.

Project Saksham

  • It is a New Indirect Tax Network of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
  • Helps in:

Ø Implementation of Goods and Services Tax.

Ø Extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT).

Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

  • DTAA is a tax treaty between any two/multiple countries.
  • So that taxpayers can avoid paying double taxes in the source and resident country.
  • India has DTAA with countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, Mauritius, Singapore, UAE, the UK and US.
Base Erosion And Profit Shifting
  • Companies shift their profits to other tax jurisdictions having lower tax rates, thereby eroding the tax base in India.
Multilateral Convention To Implement Measures To Prevent BEPS
  • It is an outcome of the OECD / G20 BEPS Project.


Prevention Of Money Laundering Act,2002
  • To combat money laundering in India.
  • Under this, the Enforcement Directorate is empowered to conduct a Money Laundering investigation.
Vivaad Se Vishwas Scheme,2020
  • It is an amnesty scheme offers a complete waiver on interest and penalty to the taxpayers who pay their pending taxes by March 31.
Sabka Vishwas Scheme,2019
  • Sabka Vishwas is a legacy dispute resolution scheme to free the large number of small taxpayers of their pending disputes with the tax administration.

Round Tripping

  • Money that leaves the country through various channels and makes its way
  • back into the country often as foreign investment. This mostly involves black money and is allegedly often used for stock price manipulation.

Shell companies

  • These are typically corporate entities which do not have any active business operations or significant assets in their possession. The government views them with suspicion as some of them could be used for money laundering, tax evasion and other illegal activities.

Advanced Pricing Agreement


  • It is an agreement between the tax authority and MNC on the appropriate transfer pricing methodology for a certain period of time. Under this, the transfer price is fixed based on the “Arm’s length principle”.
  • This principle states that the transfer price must be closer to the price at goods and services are transacted between two unrelated entities.

Tax Compliance


  • Tax Compliance is the degree to which a taxpayer complies (or fails to comply) with the tax rules of his or her country, for example by declaring income, filing a return, and paying the tax due in a timely manner.

Grandfather Clause


  • A grandfather clause (or grandfather policy or grandfathering) is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have grandfather rights or acquired rights, or to have been grandfathered in.
Fiscal Drag


  • Fiscal drag is a concept where inflation and earnings growth may push more tax payers into higher tax brackets. Therefore, fiscal drag has the effect of raising government tax revenue without explicitly raising tax rates.
Fiscal Cliff

  • The point at which tax cuts would expire, and spending cuts would be triggered.


  • Angel Tax is a tax that is levied on the funding received by start-ups from an external investor. However, this tax is levied when start-ups receive angel funding at a valuation higher than its ‘fair market value’. It is counted as income to the company and is taxed.
  • The entire investment is not taxed – only the amount that is considered above “fair value” valuations of the start-up, classified as ‘income from other sources’ in the Income Tax Act of India.



  • A capital gains tax is a tax levied on capital gains, profits an investor realizes when he sells a capital asset for a price that is higher than the purchase price.
  • Capital gains taxes are only triggered when an asset is realized, not while it is held by an investor.
  • Normally if an asset is held for less than 36 months, any gain arising from selling it is treated as a Short-Term Capital Gain (STCG) and taxed in your hands.
  • It becomes a ‘Long-Term’ Capital Gain (LTCG) if the asset is held for 36 months or more.
  • In case of shares and mutual funds, a holding period of 12 months or more qualifies as ‘long-term’.






Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD)

  • Eatablished-1961.
  • Aim- to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index
  • Headquarters: Paris, France; Total Members: 36.
  • India is not a member, but a key economic partner.
  • Reports and Indices by OECD-
  • Government at a Glance 2017 report
  • International Migration Outlook
  • OECD Better Life Index
Enforcement Directorate
  • Has task of enforcing– Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
  • It also processes cases of fugitive/ fugitives from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
Financial Intelligence Unit
  • The central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions, money laundering and related crimes
  • FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister.




Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and

Central Board of Direct Taxes

  • Both are a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance created under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963.
  • The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) was renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in 2018 after the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • CBIC deals with the tasks of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of Customs, Central Excise duties, Central Goods & Services Tax and Integrated GST, prevention of smuggling.
  • CBDT provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for the administration of direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department.
  • Tax Administrative Reforms Commission (TARC)- Parthasarathi Shome- proposal to merge the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

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     PWOnlyIAS is NOW at three new locations Mukherjee Nagar ,Lucknow and Patna , Explore all centers     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC 2022 Final Result🔥5 out of Top 10 from PW OnlyIAS Community. UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key

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