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Mar 13, 2020

Rajya Sabha passes the motion to return Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 to lower house

Rajya Sabha today passed the motion to return the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 to the lower house, after its consideration. The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. It provides a waiver on interest, penalty and prosecution for settlement of Direct Tax disputes. A complete waiver is granted when the disputed amount is paid before 31st of this monthwhile an additional 10 per cent of the disputed amount in cases where the settlement is made by 30th June of this year.

Replying to the discussion, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said, all steps will be taken by the government to reduce the tax litigation on priority basis. She assured that discretion of tax authorities will be reduced by faceless assessment driven by technology. Tax related disputes in the country amounting to over 9 lakh crore rupees is pending against over 4 lakh litigations in various appellate forums. Ms. Sitharaman assured that the provisions of this bill provide absolute immunity for prosecutions under Income Tax Act to the appellant once the dispute is resolved. She however clarified that it only governs disputes related to Direct Tax and not litigations related to wealth tax. Addressing query of a parliamentarian, the minister said, cases above five crore rupees are excluded under the ambit of this bill to avoid alleged tax evaders take undue benefit of these provisions.

Earlier, moving the Bill, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said, this bill has been brought up with the objective to settle the tax dispute in an efficient manner.

Initiating the discussion, M V Rajeev Gowda of Congress said, the government is not addressing the actual cause of the tax litigation. He said, unrealistic target of tax collection is putting pressure on the tax payers in the form of tax terrorism. Derek O’ Brian of Trinamool Congress said, economic condition of the country is in serious condition as the tax collection is falling. Naresh Gujaral of SAD emphasized on the need of a simplified tax code to minimise tax litigations in the country. Leaders from CPM, Samajwadi Party, BSP, DMK, and BJD were among others who also expressed their views on the Bill.

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