In an attempt to resolve direct tax disputes worth Rs 2.4 lakh crore pertaining to central public sector undertakings (CPSUs), under the newly launched amnesty scheme Vivad se Vishwas, the Income-Tax Department has made the financial heads of the units sign a document that fixes the tax liability of these firms, sources told The Indian Express.
This document, called ‘Joint Certification of Amount Payable’, is being signed between principal I-T commissioners and executives of the rank of chief financial officers at CPSUs.
The move has raised concerns among CPSUs, which fear that settlement under the scheme will affect their capital reserves and weaken their balance sheets.
Public sector banks, which have been reeling under the burden of huge non-performing assets, have already expressed their reluctance over settlement under the scheme.
Sources said public sector oil marketing companies top the list of firms with the highest amount of tax disputes with the government. If the tax department is able to persuade the CPSUs to come on board, it may be able to unlock at least Rs 1 lakh crore or 50 per cent of the total collection target of Rs 2 lakh crore set by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) under the amnesty scheme by March 31.
At a recent meeting of top I-T officers chaired by the Revenue Secretary, it was decided that starting March 9, the Cabinet Secretary will hold talks with the managing directors of these CPSUs, based on the tax liability document, and ask them to pay up and settle the cases under the amnesty scheme, said sources.
The Vivad se Vishwas scheme seeks to reduce about 4.8 lakh tax disputes involving an amount of Rs 9.32 lakh crore (up to November 30, 2019) by giving taxpayers the chance to escape interest on the disputed tax amount and any penalty.
Meanwhile, the Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association, which together constitute 97 per cent of the workforce in the department, have threatened a series of protests against the CBDT’s move to bring all disputed cases under the Vivad se Vishwas scheme and linking its success to the performance of officials.
The CBDT had issued a memorandum last month linking the performance of officials in collecting money under the scheme to their future postings.
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