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6-month amnesty scheme for sales tax offered in state
March, 26th 2016

Maharashtra has announced an amnesty scheme for pending sales tax dues, which will be open for six months, starting April 1. The scheme hopes to clear the backlog of appeals in courts and garner revenue locked up in appeal cases. The state government expects to garner Rs 700 crore from the scheme.

An amnesty scheme, open during the same period, has also been announced for profession tax. In this case, the state hopes to bring on the tax rolls those who have not registered earlier.

Experts said the amnesty scheme for sales tax dues may not have many takers. "The scheme is not likely to be beneficial as it applies only in cases where sales tax is disputed in appeal and recovery has been stayed. The dealer also has to withdraw the appeal filed by him," Sunil Gabhwalla, an indirect tax expert, said.

The relief which is to be provided under the sales tax amnesty scheme varies with the age of the pending dispute. For periods before April 1, 2005, if the dealer pays the disputed tax in full, the corresponding penalty and interest is proposed to be waived. For periods between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2012, the dealer will have to pay the disputed tax amount and 25% of the disputed interest.

The profession tax amnesty scheme is expected to attract many professionals who were ignorant of their legal obligation to pay the tax, which is Rs 2,500 per year.

Professionals such as doctors, architects, lawyers and chartered accountants who have not yet enrolled and who come forward during the amnesty period will cough up a lower tax outgo.

Under the profession tax amnesty scheme the tax and penalty (maximum of 50% of the tax or Rs 1,250 per year) will be payable only for the past three years, instead of eight years. "As stringent action is on the anvil for evaders on expiry of the scheme, professionals should take advantage of the amnesty window," Gabhwalla added.

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