Mumbai: Asking service tax defaulters to take advantage of the amnesty scheme, Finance Minister P Chidambaram Thursday said the government could not have come out with a better offer for them to come clean.
Addressing industry chambers here, the Minister said the revenue department has so far received 6,409 applications, of which 3,085 have been accepted.
Only 89 have been rejected. And 3,235 cases are pending and they will be processed, Chidambaram said.
"We only want to collect the tax. By giving up interest, govt is actually giving up legitimate revenue. I don't think there could be more generous offer," he said while elaborating on the Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES).
He said that of the total 17 lakh registered service tax payers, only seven lakh of them were paying the levy.
VCES had been introduced with effect from May 10, 2013 as a one-time amnesty scheme for paying service tax dues for the period October 1, 2007 to December 31, 2012 without interest and penalty.
The Minister said the revenue department intends to collect over Rs 1.80 lakh crore under Service Tax in the current fiscal.
"We are giving you, what I think is a fair and generous opportunity... Between a date in 2007 and a date in 2012, if you have a liability to pay service tax and you had not paid it, here is a chance for you to pay and we will not charge you interest or penalty and you will not be prosecuted," he said.
Service tax collection between April-September grew by 16 percent to Rs 59,000 crore.