Updated: February 15, 2020 7:22:44 AM
TWO days after prime minister Narendra Modi has raised the issue of too few Indians, the government has set a daunting collection target of Rs 2 lakh crore for the Income Tax Department through the new amnesty scheme Vivad se Vishwas in the next 45 days that end on March 31, 2020, even if the scheme does not end until June 2020, sources said The Indian Express.
The bill is yet to be adopted – it is planned for the first week of March – and yet tax officials across the country have been asked to squat and worry about harassment of both attackers and taxpayers. All the more so since the Central Taxation Directorate has linked the performance of tax officials when collecting money under the scheme to their future posts.
The prime minister’s office (PMO) has become the owner of the scheme and has set up a special cell with, among others, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and PC Mody, president of CBDT, who is expected to meet once a week to gather collections under the scheme check, sources said.
The Vivad se Vishwas The scheme is aimed at settling no fewer than 4.83,000 direct tax cases pending various professional forums, i.e. commissioner (appeal), ITAT, High Courts and Supreme Court.
The stress on tax collection via Vivad se Vishwas scheme is taking on significance, as sources said the tax authorities were staring at a shortage of income of up to Rs 1.25 lakh crore this tax despite the Union Budget 2020 review of the direct tax collection for 2019-20 to Rs 11.80 lakh crore of the earlier target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore.
The I-T department has so far only collected Rs 7.40 lakh crore in direct taxes, said CBDT chairman Mody last week.
Originally, the bill that a taxpayer must pay 100 percent of the amount of the disputed taxes and receive full waiver of interest and fine, provided that he pays before 31 March 2020. The government has now adopted this amendment to include two rates in order to achieve objectives quickly under the scheme.
In cases where the tax authorities have won the case in a lower forum and the claimant is on appeal, the rate remains 100 percent of the disputed tax.
In cases pending before ITAT, High Court and Supreme Court, where the division is on appeal (i.e. the assessee has won at the lower forum), the assendant can pay by paying 50 percent of the disputed tax.
This is how the department plans to bring even those reviewers who had won in the lower forums under the fold of the Vivad se Vishwas scheme. In essence, the tax man tells the assessees that they have to pay 50 percent and get the assurance that they will end a lawsuit in these cases.
Income Secretary Pandey, who spoke to members of CBDT and top IT Commissioners on February 13, instructed the department to relocate courts across the country in tax disputes where the department lost the case in lower legal fora against an assendant.
All income tax commissioners (appeals) have been asked to quickly decide on cases of tax disputes and to place orders so that they can be brought to the legal forum. Evaluating officers were asked to calculate and compile the exact amount of the dispute in any case pending legal forums.
They have been asked to split the categories of assessees into segments such as central and national government sector units, government contractors, large assessees and foreign companies.
The CBDT wants the tax authorities to be prepared with precise details of tax disputes that are in different legal fora, so that once the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill 2020 has been adopted by parliament in the first week of March, the participants can be “convinced” to apply for the scheme. Chief IT Commissioners of the IT department have been asked to follow the progress of the department daily.
Top tax officials “can provide details of their performance with regard to Vivad se Vishwas scheme in the self-assessment in the APAR (Annual Assessment Report) for FY 2019-20. Details about the number of disputed cases, the amount involved in disputed cases as well as the number of resolved cases and the amount collected under the scheme can be reported in the self-assessment, ”said a CBDT office memorandum that was given to all chief commissioners during the February 13 meeting.
“The performance of officers regarding the Vivad se Vishwas scheme will be specifically commented on by reporting and auditing officers and will be an important factor in determining their future vacancies,” said the memorandum signed by Rakesh Gupta, income tax commissioner (C&S), CBDT.
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