New Delhi: With over Rs 5.16 lakh crore locked up in tax disputes before Commissioners, the revenue department has started sending emails and SMSes to assessees, asking them to avail of the ongoing one-time dispute scheme which will close by December end.
About 2.59 lakh cases are pending adjudication before Commissioner I-T (Appeals) as on February 2016 involving disputed tax worth over Rs 5.16 lakh. It is estimated that each Commissioner would have some 400 cases pending.
The Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme, introduced from June 1 to December 31, seeks to address the issue of pending litigation before these commissioners.
"We have started sending SMS and emails to these assessees from the beginning of this week," an official said, adding that so far the response to the scheme has been lacklustre but the CBDT expects the scheme to pick up pace by December.
The scheme will help tax payers resolve litigation, while the tax department could reduce its administrative cost in disposing appeals and also collect due taxes.
The official said the CIT(A) has already drawn up a list of cases which would be eligible for this Scheme and has intimated to Principal CIT.
This may include cases where appeal has been filed against mandatory interest, mandatory fees, and any other case found fit in the opinion of the CIT(A).
As per the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme, once an assessee decides to avail the scheme, the tax officer shall ascertain the amount of tax to be paid within 60 days of receiving the declaration.
The tax officer will then issue a certificate to the assessee, who will be required to make a pay the tax amount within 30 days.
The tax department has already asked its officers to proactively encourage assessees to take advantage of the one-time tax dispute resolution scheme, ending on December 31.
As per I-T department data, there were 73,402 appeals with tax effect above Rs 10 lakh and 1,85,858 appeals with tax effect below Rs 10 lakh pending before CIT (Appeal) as on February 29. Thus, 2,59,260 appellants are eligible for the benefit of this scheme.
As per the scheme, a taxpayer who has an appeal pending before the CIT (Appeal) can settle his/her case by paying the disputed tax and interest up to the date of assessment. No penalty in respect of cases with disputed tax up to Rs 10 lakh will be levied.
For cases exceeding Rs 10 lakh, 25 per cent of penalty would be levied and any pending appeal against a penalty order can also be settled by paying 25 per cent of the minimum of the imposable penalty.