The service tax amnesty scheme has yielded Rs 5,500 crore to the exchequer, and with just two days left for its close, the government has asked defaulters to take advantage of the scheme or face penal action.
The Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES) launched on May 10 to enable service tax defaulters to pay dues without penalty or late payment charges, ends on Tuesday.
"Up to December 29, 2013 we have received over 40,000 declarations involving over Rs 5,500 crore," finance secretary Sumit Bose told reporters here.
In the last four days, the government got over 16,000 applications involving Rs 1,500 crore, he said.
"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," Bose said.
He further said tax offices would remain open till midnight on December 31, while the designated branches of banks have been asked to accept collections till 6 pm.
"All Commissionerates have been advised to accept demand drafts/pay orders submitted by declarants, under the Receipt Payment Rules," he said.
As per the scheme, a defaulter may declare his tax liabilities for the period between October 1, 2007 and December 31, 2012. They would have to pay 50 per cent of the declared tax dues by December 31, 2013.
The scheme was introduced by finance minister P Chidambaram in the Union Budget for 2013-14. The government expects a 36% growth in service tax collection target this fiscal to Rs 1.80 lakh crore.