Ser­vice tax amnesty scheme sees R5,500 - crore mop-up

The Financial Express - - FRONT PAGE - Fe Bureau

New Delhi, Dec 30: With the gov­ern­ment’s amnesty scheme clos­ing on Tues­day, the rev­enue depart­ment has so far re­ceived re­quests from ser­vice providers for their past dues of R5,500 crore.

The amnesty re­quests roughly cor­re­spond to a turnover of R55,000 crore of ser­vices ren­dered over the last five years, on which tax ought to have been paid.

Brief­ing re­porters, fi­nance sec­re­tary Su­mit Bose said that ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made to as­sist those who sign up for the Vol­un­tary Com­pli­ance En­cour­age­ment Scheme (VCES), un­der which 40,000 busi­nesses have sought amnesty so far. The scheme was the brain­child of fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram.

Once the scheme con­cludes on De­cem­ber 31, the ser­vice tax ad­min­is­tra­tion will crack the whip on tax evaders who have not availed of the scheme.

"I would like to ad­vise that from Jan­uary 1, 2014, stern ac­tion will be taken against ser­vice tax evaders and the pro­vi­sions in the Fi­nance Act re­lat­ing to ar­rest and prose­cu­tion will be en­forced in right earnest," said Bose.

THE RE­QUESTS COR­RE­SPOND TO A TURNOVER OF R55,000 CRORE OF SER­VICES REN­DERED OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS, ON WHICH TAX SHOULD HAVE BEEN PAID

Through the Fi­nance Act, 2013, the gov­ern­ment had made non-pay­ment of ser­vice tax col­lected on be­half of it ex­ceed­ing R50 lakh for more than six months a cog­nis­able and non-bail­able of­fence. Of­fi­cers re­quire no war­rant from a court to ini­ti­ate a probe, or to ar­rest the ac­cused for cog­nis­able of­fences.

The sec­re­tary also said the amnesty scheme is avail­able only till De­cem­ber 31. "There will be no ex­ten­sion of the scheme since the last date is laid down in the Fi­nance Act, 2013," he said.

Ser­vice tax au­thor­i­ties will be work­ing be­yond their nor­mal work­ing hours on Mon­day and of­fices will re­main open till mid­night on De­cem­ber 31, the last day of the scheme, to ac­cept all dec­la­ra­tions, the sec­re­tary said.

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