Parthasarathi Shome was also in the
Global Tax 50
A regular fixture in the Global Tax 50, Partho Shome had
another action-packed year in 2015.
As chairman of India's Tax Administration Reform Commission
(TARC), Shome produced a series of reports for the Ministry of
Finance throughout 2014 and 2015, highlighting key
recommendations for the Indian government, which has been
actively trying to alter its perception among international
investors. His recommendations included: adopting increased
customer focus in tax administration; combining India's direct
and indirect tax administrations; and introducing impact
assessment and revenue forecasting.
"The whole point of TARC was to benchmark India against the
best practices globally," says Shome, "and then look at the
gaps and make recommendations from that point of view, with the
objective of enhanced customer focus, as well as the assignment
of human resources of the tax administration in a much more
rational manner than prevails today."
Shome told ITR that multinational companies had
become "exhausted" with India's unpredictable tax system but
gave lawmakers and other officials a positive endorsement,
saying they are committed to change.
While the moves to encourage investment and improve tax
administration have been driven by Arun Jaitley, Shome is the
man who successive finance ministers have turned to for advice
An undisputed authority on all-things-tax – having
held a wide range of roles including chief economist at the UK
tax authority, HMRC, and chief of the IMF's tax policy division
on top of his government advisory and committee chairmanship
roles – Shome once again exerted his influence during
2015. On top of his TARC commitments, August saw Shome
appointed to lead India's International Tax Research and
Analysis Foundation (ITRAF).
The ITRAF was launched as a non-lobbying, apolitical
think-tank which will provide research and other services to
supplement government efforts to implement effective tax
Having somebody as in-tune with the sentiments of the
international business community as Shome will certainly serve
the government well as more progress is made towards increasing
foreign direct investment into India in 2016.
"As India embarks on its exciting phase of growth, ease of
doing business is going to be a huge differentiator to attract
investments," says Shome. "Uncertainty in the tax environment
is a potential deterrent for global companies planning to
invest in India. Good tax policies are backed by research and
At the end of January, Jaitley confirmed that "the Shome
Committee report has given several recommendations" and that he
was at "a very advanced stage" of looking into them. Taxpayers
now await February's Budget, when it will become clear which of
Shome's recommendations are being adopted.