Future postings of income tax officers will be linked with their performance under the recently announced direct tax amnesty scheme, Vivad se Vishwas, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in an internal communication Thursday. Also, the officers would have to report their performance details under the scheme such as number of disputed cases, number of cases resolved and the amount collected under the scheme in their annual appraisal reports, it said.
“Details of the number of disputed cases, amount involved in disputed cases as well as the number of cases resolved and the amount collected under the scheme may be reported in the self-appraisal. The performance of officers in respect of ‘Vivad se Vishwas Scheme’ will be specifically commented upon by the reporting and the reviewing officers and shall be an important factor in determining their future postings,” an office memorandum of CBDT dated February 13 said. The CBDT has directed all its field officials to give details of their performance under the Vivad se Vishwas scheme in their self-appraisal in the Annual Performance Appraisal Report for financial year 2019-20.
Tax officers have been asked to make efforts for the success of the scheme in the CBDT communication. “The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 has been introduced in the Parliament as a taxpayer friendly measure with the objective of minimising litigation as well as to realise the demand locked up in litigation. Considering the importance being attached by the government to the scheme it is imperative that the field formations make efforts in the right earnest for the success of the scheme, after its enactment,” it said. 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. A Bill related to the scheme was introduced in Lok Sabha last week. On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved amendment of the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020, to widen its scope to cover litigation pending in various debt recovery tribunals (DRTs). Also, the amendment will ensure coverage of search and seizure cases where the recovery is up to Rs 5 crore.
Direct tax collections have been lower than their budget targets due to the overall economic slowdown and a cut in the corporate tax rate in September last year. Following this, estimates for direct taxes were revised lower to Rs 11.7 lakh crore from the earlier Budget estimate of Rs 13.35 lakh crore for 2019-20. Of the total direct tax collection for 2019-20, estimated I-T collection stands at Rs 5.59 lakh crore and corporate tax mop-up at Rs 6.10 lakh crore. Collection target for next fiscal is pegged at Rs 6.38 lakh crore and corporate tax collection at Rs 6.81 lakh crore.
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