Finance minister Niramla Sitharaman has asked taxmen to firmly deal with those who try to “game” the system and evade taxes, but act as facilitators for those who want to pay taxes honestly. “Those gaming the system are the ones you (taxmen) have to keep a watch on… data mining, big data usage are all instruments in your hand to understand where the wrong doing is happening and I am with you if you are firm on those people. I am fully with you if you are really firm on gaming,” she said. She said if the assesses are not avoiding and evading taxes, then the taxmen owe the assesses good service. “If avoidance and evasion are two things in your mind, ‘a’ and ‘e’, of the 5 vowels… then the other three letters comes into play—‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’. No avoidance and evasion, then you owe the assessee a good service, facilitation,” she said.

Addressing officers at the Income Tax Day celebration here on Wednesday, Sitharaman said efforts should be made to increase the tax base from 80 million currently as desired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She also said the direct tax collection target of Rs. 13.35 lakh crore for 2019-20 set in the budget was “easy” and achievable.