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Service Tax amnesty scheme may fetch about Rs 6,000 crore
January, 14th 2014

The Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES), which was implemented from May 10 last year, has got an encouraging response, a revenue department official said.

About 48,000 declaration forms involving service tax revenue of at least Rs 6,000 crore may have been filed under the scheme, he said.

"This is the rough amount. The exact number of such applications and amount pledged is being finalized in coordination with various Service Tax Commissionerates and other offices which were mandated to receive such claims from defaulters," the official said.

VCES was announced to allow a service tax defaulter to pay dues without any penalty or late payment charges. Under the scheme, a person was to make a declaration to the designated authority on or before December 31, 2013.

A large number of declarants had come forward on the last two days before the scheme ended, he said.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who had announced this scheme while presenting the budget for 2013-14, had recently said that schemes like VCES were rare opportunities unlikely to come again in the next 20 years. He had asked tax evaders to take benefit of the amnesty scheme.

Of the 17 lakh registered assessees under Service Tax, only seven lakh were filing returns, Chidambaram had said.

An evasion of service tax of Rs 50 lakh and above has been made a cognisable offence after the passage of current fiscal's Finance Bill on May 10 last year.

The Finance Minister had proposed provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to arrest such offenders in 2013-14 budget, in line with customs and central excise laws.
Earlier, officials did not have any power to arrest a person for service tax evasion. The ministry has set an indirect tax collection target of Rs 5.65 lakh crore for 2013-14, through customs, excise and service tax, up from Rs 4.73 lakh crore collected in the last fiscal.

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