Pursuant to the Budget announcement of the direct tax amnesty scheme, Vivad se Vishwas, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked its field officers to compile data for pending appeals in high courts.
“In order to implement the scheme, the CBDT needs a database on such litigations pending at high court level. It is therefore, requested that the data on pending appeals at high court level as on January 31, 2020, be obtained with the help of court registry and the same may be supplemented with the records of the field office,” a communication sent to Principal Chief Commissioners stated.
The CBDT in its communication dated February 4 has asked principal chief commissioners to collate the data and send it by next week. The CBDT has asked the regional Income Tax Department chiefs to personally monitor the exercise and submit the data by February 14 to it through e-mail.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech had announced this scheme, which aims to resolve 4.83 lakh direct tax cases pending at various appellate forums such as the Commissioner (Appeals), the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), high courts and the Supreme Court.
Under the scheme, taxpayers with pending demands can pay due taxes by March 31 and get complete interest and penalty waiver. After the March 31 deadline, the second deadline would be till June 30, but with the requirement to pay 10 per cent more on the tax. In case it is just the interest and the penalty which is in dispute, the taxpayer will have to pay 25 per cent of the disputed amount till March 31, and subsequently it will be 30 per cent. Sitharaman also introduced a Bill related to the scheme in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Cases involving serious financial crimes like money laundering, those related to undisclosed foreign assets and where prosecution has been launched under the Income Tax Act and the Benami assets law will not be eligible to be included under the scheme.
Separately, at a CII event, CBDT Chairman PC Mody said the tax department is “reasonably confident” of meeting the revised direct tax collection of Rs 11.7 lakh crore in the current fiscal, adding that the department is doing data mining and using artificial intelligence to augment revenue, and will not undertake any coercive action. “Whatever estimates have now been given, I think there is absolute realism to that… I am reasonably confident that we will be able to meet this year’s target,” Mody said.
Of the total direct tax collection for 2019-20, estimated income tax collection stands at Rs 5.59 lakh crore and corporate tax mop at Rs 6.10 lakh crore. Income tax collection target for next fiscal is pegged at Rs 6.38 lakh crore and corporate tax collection at Rs 6.81 lakh crore.
Mody said the tax department will use technology and encourage voluntary compliance. “We are going to make use of technology in a big way. We are doing data mining, using artificial intelligence very very extensively. And the results of that will be visible in the time to come,” he said.