Rs 1.32 lakh crore tax garnered by government scheme

More than 48,600 income-tax payers, including public sector firms have opted for the government’s tax amnesty scheme ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ involving a combined settlement amount of over ₹1.32 lakh crore, a finance ministry official said.

As on November 17, the government has already received ₹72,480 crore from these entities as settlement proceeds, and the amount is expected to go up significantly before the extended deadline of December 31, 2020, the official said requesting anonymity.

In the Union budget presented on February 1, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the scheme that aimed to resolve legacy disputes involving direct taxes. Under the scheme, penalty and interest would be waived if the disputed amount is paid before March 31, 2020. Later the deadline was extended. More than 483,000 legacy disputes are stuck in various tribunals involving direct taxes worth ₹9.32 lakh crore.

“In view of hardship being faced by taxpayers due to the pandemic situation of Covid-19, the deadline for filing of declarations under the scheme has been extended to December 31, 2020 and the deadline for payment without paying any interest and penalty has been extended to March 31, 2021,” the official said.

Once the entities opt for the scheme and make the declaration, all appeals—both by taxpayer and by department—are withdrawn, he said. The finance ministry reviewed the scheme’s progress and decided to regularly monitor the cases where taxpayers have filed declarations, the official said.

The amnesty scheme was launched for taxpayers on March 17, 2020 after approval of the Parliament to reduce litigation, he said. The scheme provides for settlement of disputed tax, interest, penalty or fees in relation to an assessment or reassessment order on payment of 100% of the disputed tax and 25% of the disputed penalty or interest or fee.

“The taxpayer is granted immunity from levy of interest, penalty and institution of any proceeding for prosecution for any offence under the Income-Tax Act in respect of matters covered in the declaration,” the official said.

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