Income Tax Department Launches Vivad se Vishwas Scheme 2020 Awareness Campaign

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Soon after the enactment of the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Act, 2020 on March 17, 2020 the income tax department swings into action. 

In this process, the CPC has started sending emails to the taxpayers informing that the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Act, 2020 (DTVSV Act 2020) has been passed by the Parliament. 

The email further requests the taxpayers to consider the benefits of the Vivad Se Vishwas ( VSV) Scheme to enable the taxpayers to plan ahead so that taxpayers are better prepared in terms of the details that may be required to be furnished as a part of the VSV process. 

The email also contains a link to a powerpoint presentation that outlines the VSV Scheme and a reference to CBDT Circular 7/2020 dated 04.03.2020 which clarifies the provisions of the DTVSV Act 2020 in the form of FAQs. 

In the PowerPoint presentation, it is stated the end date of scheme is likely to be June 30, 2020. This is the first official document released by the income tax department which has hinted at the last date of the scheme. Earlier, the Finance Minister after the presentation of the Budget 2020 stated in a post-budget press conference that the last date will be June 30 but the Act specifies that the last date will be notified.

The email reminds the taxpayers to settle all pending litigation or disputes by making payment before 31st March 2020. After 31st March, payment shall be required to be made at a higher rate as per the VSV scheme. 

The Income Tax Department has also reminded the taxpayers to settle the income tax disputes by 31st March 2020. In a tweet with a pamphlet, the Income-tax department says, "Now settle your Income Tax Disputes by 31st March, 2020! Avail the benefits of Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme2020!". 


The pamphlet lists various features of the DTVSV Act 2020 for general information as discussed below-


VIVAD SE VISHWAS SCHEME 2020

ELIGIBILITY

• Appeals/writs filed on or before 31.01.2020 and pending 
• Orders for which time for filing appeal has not expired on 31.01.2020 
• Cases pending before Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP) on 31.01.2020 
• Cases where DRP issued direction on or before 31.01.2020 but no order has been passed 
• Cases where assessee filed revision (Section 264) on or before 31.01.2020 
• Search case if the disputed tax is less than Rs. 5 Crore in a Year 
• The appeals/writs filed by taxpayers or the department 
• Disputes, where the payment has already been made, shall also be eligible 
• Cases in arbitration in India or Abroad 

DISPUTES COVERED

• All disputes, subject to some exclusion, in relation to the-
(i) Disputed tax 
(ii) Disputed penalty 
(iii) Disputed interest 
(iv) Disputed Fee
(v) Disputed Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) or tax collected at source (TCS)

The pamphlet also states the End date of the Vivad se Vishwas Scheme 2020 as June 30, 2020

Through the above the income tax department is creating awareness to pay the disputed tax by March 31, 2020 ironically, the e-fling portal displayed a notice which states that Forms required to submit for availing benefit under 'DIRECT TAX VIVAD SE VISHWAS' Scheme would be available in the e-Filing soon. No date by which the forms will be available is mentioned on the notice.

Even before the enactment of the DTVSV Act 2020 the jurisdictional assessing officers in the mid-March had started sending letters via emails with the subject "The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Act, 2020" to the taxpayers having outstanding demand. The letter states the fact about the outstanding amount of demand for the mentioned assessment year. However, no outstanding tax amount is mentioned in the letter. Further, the taxpayer is requested to go through the DTVSV Act 2020 and to consider availing of the benefits under the VSV scheme.

The said letter issued by the jurisdictional AO is also available in the e-filing account of the taxpayer under the menu ‘e-proceeding’.

Even in many cases, taxpayers were contacted over telephone by the tax officers.

Though the campaigning may be considered to be good but considering that the time to pay the tax by March 31 it is really very harsh. The current locked down like situation due to Covid-19 cannot be ignored. Hence the last date to pay the disputed tax without any additional enhancement seems unrealistic. If one pays the disputed tax after March 31, one has to pay an additional 10 percent higher amount.

Although the government was requested many times to extend the date of March 31, but it seems the government is reluctant to accept the request. Even in an event of ICAI on March 16, 2020, which was attended by the Finance Minister with Shri Piyush Goyal, the same request was placed before her. Similar concerns were also raised in the Rajya Sabha during discussion/debate on the DTVSV Bill 2020.

Read the 11-page powerpoint presentation on DTVSV Act 2020.



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