Just two weeks before “Vivad se Vishwas” direct tax resolution scheme ends, the declarations for dispute resolution made from Gujarat stand at a dismal 12 per cent, income tax officials said on Friday.
“Over the years, the pendency of appeals filed by taxpayers as well as the government has increased. The number of appeals filed is much higher than the number of appeals disposed. As a result, a huge amount of disputed tax arrears is locked up in these appeals. At present, there are 4.83 lakh direct tax cases pending in various appellate forums,” said Amit Jain, Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Director General of Income Tax (Investigations), Gujarat.
He was participating in a webinar-cum-event organised about the scheme by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Friday evening.
The scheme was introduced in the finance Bill 2020 to reduce litigation with regard to direct taxes. It allows waiver of interest, penalty and prosecution for settling tax disputes due up to January 31, 2020. The appellate forums that deal with direct tax litigations include Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) or CIT Appeals, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), High Court and Supreme Court.
“In Gujarat, there are 51,686 tax disputes in various appellate forums. A total of Rs 78,785 crore is locked up in litigation,” Jain said.
Among these litigations, 42,156 appeals worth Rs 35,824 crore are with CIT Appeals, 7,513 appeals involving Rs 26,130 crore is in ITAT, 1,645 appeals worth Rs 1,0174 crore is in Gujarat High Court, while 311 appeals worth 4,153 crore are in Supreme Court while the rest are in Debt Recovery Tribunal.
Despite the high number of pending litigations, only 6,196 declarations involving Rs 962.27 crore have been filed so far, which is 12 per cent of the total pending litigations pertaining to direct taxes. The last date for filing declarations is December 31, 2020. “There is hardly any time left,” he added.
GCCI president Natubhai Patel suggested that due to the liquidity crisis faced by MSMEs, taxpayers should be allowed to pay the pending amount in 4-5 instalments.
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