Government open to suggestions for better implementation of Vivad Se Vishwas scheme: CBDT chief PC Mody

New Delhi: Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) held an All India Video Conferencing of its members on ‘The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Act, 2020’ here on Monday (April 6) in view of the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. PC Mody, Chairman, CBDT explained the objective behind the scheme and the role of the stakeholders in making it a grand success. 

Mody explained to the audience that the government, as well as the board, has undertaken a massive exercise of considering the suggestions from every corner, for proposing suitable amendments to the Act. 

The CBDT chairman clarified the doubts by answering frequently asked questions and said that no scheme could be conceived with all the perfections, so also could be this scheme. He assured that the government and the Board are open for suggestions and comments from every stakeholder for better implementation of the scheme in its letter and spirit.

An official statement issued after the meeting said that ITAT President Justice P P Bhatt also encouraged stakeholders to avail of the scheme so as to reduce pending tax litigation.

“He (Bhatt) urged the stakeholders, more particularly, the tax practitioners to take the task further in a mission mode, so that the system that is choked with the avoidable litigation could be relieved for concentrating on more meritorious issues, which have a bearing on the tax policies affecting the taxpayers on a large scale,” the statement said.

In cases where taxpayer’s appeals are pending before appellate forums, High Courts and the Supreme Court, the taxpayer will have the option to settle the dispute on payment of 100 per cent tax (125 per cent in search cases) and get a complete waiver on interest and penalty if he pays by June 30.

Further, where arrears are related to disputed interest or penalty only, 25 per cent of disputed penalty or interest will have to be paid if the payment is made by June 30.

The scheme will cover appeals pending before the appellate forum [Commissioner (Appeals), ITAT, High Court or the Supreme Court], and writ petitions pending before High Court or the Supreme Court or special leave petitions (SLPs) pending before the Supreme Court as on January 31, 2020.

The scheme can also be availed in cases of search and seizure operations where the cumulative recovery is less than Rs 5 crore, and also those which are pending arbitration, but would not cover those cases where the dispute is under the foreign black money act, benami property act and PMLA, among others. 

The session was presided over by Justice PP Bhatt, President, ITAT. The other guest faculty included Kamlesh Chandra Varshney, Joint Secretary-TPL(1) and Rajesh Kumar Bhoot, Joint Secretary-TPL(2) in the Ministry of Finance. 

Notably, the government has launched the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme for the resolution of pending litigation by paying only the disputed tax amount. As many as 4.83 lakh direct tax cases involving Rs 9.32 lakh crore in disputed taxes are locked in various appellate forums. The amount is equivalent to 82 per cent of the government’s direct tax revenue in FY19.

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