Vivad se Vishwas solved 1.48 lakh legacy disputes, ₹54K crore recovered: CBDT
The direct tax dispute resolution scheme ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ (from dispute to trust) has settled more than 1.48 lakh cases and recovered 54% of about ₹1 lakh crore amount under litigation, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Pramod Chandra Mody said on Tuesday.
“The scheme has been successful as its objective was to reduce pending income tax litigation, generate timely revenue and provide taxpayers peace of mind,” he said.
The scheme started on March 17, 2020 and closed on March 31 this year. However, taxpayers, who have already made declarations within the stipulated deadline of March 31, can make payments without any penalty or interest up to April 30, 2021.
The Vivad se Vishwas scheme provides for the settlement of disputed tax, interest, penalty or fees in relation to an assessment or reassessment order. It grants immunity to taxpayers from levy of interest, penalty and institution of any proceeding for prosecution for any offence under the Income-Tax Act in respect of matters covered in the declaration.
According to an official data, the government received a total 1,33,837 applications under the scheme, involving a total of 1,48,690 disputes. 1,45,237 disputes were related to appeals by assesses and 3,453 were related to appeals by the income-tax department. While the total disputed amount was ₹1,00,437 crore, the government received ₹54,005 crore in payments against the disputed tax. As on January 31, 2020, there were over 5.10 lakh litigations pending in various forums involving over ₹19.5 lakh crore.
CBDT chairman Mody said that disputes over assessments were the root cause of litigation and technology and faceless assessments were making the process more objective, which was likely to reduce disputes.
Abhishek A Rastogi, partner at law firm Khaitan & Company, said, “Vivad se Vishwas scheme has been a successful scheme that resolved several litigations quickly and settled the matter amicably. Any other approach would have prolonged these litigations.”
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the scheme in the Union budget presented on February 1, 2020 with the aim to resolve legacy disputes involving direct taxes. Under the scheme, penalty and interest were to be waived if the disputed amount was paid before the stipulated date.
“This year, I propose to bring a scheme similar to the indirect tax scheme ‘Sabka Vishwas’ for reducing litigations even in the direct taxes,” Sitharaman said in her budget speech last year. On July 5, 2019, Sitharaman had proposed the ‘Sabka Vishwas’ legacy dispute resolution scheme for excise and service tax, which resulted in settling at least 189,000 cases.