Sabka Vishwas Scheme: Modi govt pushes legacy dispute resolution scheme as deadline comes close : 05-11-2019

Sabka Vishwas Scheme 2019: The Modi government’s legacy dispute resolution scheme to settle the pending cases of excise duty and service tax is expected to take off in the next two months. The Sabka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019 notified by the CBIC on September 1 to resolve the tax disputes involving a sum of around Rs 4 lakh crore. The scheme is one of the most comprehensive schemes as taxpayers involved in litigation with the department can take back the cases before the final order and interest and penalty will be fully waived off.

However, two months after the implementation of the scheme, concerned over the slow pace of implementation of the scheme, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBIC) wrote to all the principal chief commissioners and chief commissioners of central taxes to personally monitor the scheme. An early resolution was considered important to encourage more taxpayers to come forward and declare as only two months have been left.

“As you are aware, except for the voluntary disclosures, the information regarding eligible taxpayers is readily available with the field formations. As seen the total number of cases eligible under the scheme, as reported by zones is 1.8 lakh…and the actual number would be even far less,” said Sandeep M Bhatnagar, member CBIC said in a letter to the top officers at the field level.

“It is certainly possible to reach out to each potential declarant,” he said in the letter while highlighting the importance of contacting every eligible taxpayer for the success of the scheme as the response so far has been less than enthusiastic.

Industry sources cited several reasons for less than expected response to the Sabka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme. One of the reasons was that most of the firms were busy filing their income tax and GST returns in September-October, the first two months of the scheme. Another reason was the use of complex legal language because of which many taxpayers were not clear whether they were eligible under the scheme or not.

“Due to use of legal jargon many people are not clear whether they are eligible for the scheme or not,” said a Pune based chartered accountant.

“We are advising our clients if as per a broad reading of the scheme, if they are eligible then they should go ahead and apply,” chartered accountant Pritam Mahure told Financial Express Online.

This is the third dispute resolution scheme after the Dispute Resolution Scheme of 1998 and the Voluntary Compliance Promotion Scheme of 2013. The government believes that the Sabka Vishwas should receive wider acceptance as the quantum of relief under the scheme is much higher than the two previous schemes. Under the Sabka Vishwas scheme, the relief quantum is between 40-70% of the tax liabilities but the slow pace of implementation is causing concerns within the government.

“Expeditious adjudications would bring in more number of declarants and help achieve the objectives of the scheme,” Sandeep M Bhatnagar, member and special secretary of the CBIC said in the letter to top officers at the level of field formation which was reviewed by the Financial Express Online.

“In the last two months, people were busy with their GST audits and income tax audits,” he said, adding that the scheme might pick up in the remaining two months of November and December.

Source : Times of India