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Sabka Vishwas tax dispute settlement scheme fetches 39,000 crore

Most taxpayers find it extremely difficult to keep pace with the large number of changes in tax laws made each year, and often make mistakes because of not having taken into account some change or the other.  (Photo: iStock)Premium
Most taxpayers find it extremely difficult to keep pace with the large number of changes in tax laws made each year, and often make mistakes because of not having taken into account some change or the other. (Photo: iStock)

  • Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the scheme in the Budget for financial year 2019-20
  • Around 1,90,000 applicants have applied for the scheme

The government has collected more than 39,000 crore in taxes under its Sabka Vishwas scheme, which was rolled out last year to settle pending disputes related to indirect taxes such as central excise duty, service tax and various cesses, said a person familiar with the development.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the scheme in the Budget for financial year 2019-20. The scheme, which kicked off in September and ended on 15 January, aimed to resolve pending indirect tax disputes since before the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST). The new indirect tax regime was implemented on 1 July 2017.

Around 1,90,000 applicants have applied for the scheme. “We have closed the scheme with tax payable of over 39,000 crore, more than two-third of which has already been paid," said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Many traders have signed up for tax dispute resolution, the person added.

The scheme offered complete waiver on interest and penalty and provided immunity from prosecution. Applicants were only required to pay the principal amount if they made voluntary disclosure of tax dues. For cases that were under adjudication or appeal, the scheme offered a 70% relief on tax demand of up to 50 lakh. For tax demand above 50 lakh, the relief was 50%.

In her maiden Budget speech in July 2019, Sitharaman had said more than 3.75 lakh crore was blocked in litigations under service tax and excise duty disputes.

The minister, in the Budget to be presented on 1 February, is likely to announce a similar scheme to settle past direct tax disputes. Sitharaman is also expected to take steps to decriminalise the Income-tax Act, 1961 and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Decriminalisation of the two Acts may make make punishments less stringent and do away with jail terms.

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