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Tax-friendly govt wants to help you settle disputes
July, 14th 2016

The income tax department will start settling pending tax disputes starting September.

Over 3,00,000 tax disputes are pending at various benches of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITAT) across India, according to a finance ministry official.

To this end, the revenue department has asked all the Commissioners of Income Tax -Appeals (first-level appellate authority), to start sending notices to people and entities for resolving their cases under the one-time dispute settlement window.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech had introduced the Income Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2016 -- starting from June 1 to December 31.

Seen as a continuation of it’s tax-friendly approach and to help the tax department to reduce the burden of pending disputes, sources said “over 300 commissioners have been asked to send notices asking people to come forward”.

As per the contours of the scheme, disputes involving tax claims below Rs10 lakh, the settlement can be done by just paying the basic tax arrears without penalty and interest. For those over Rs 10 lakh, 25% of the minimum penalty will also have to be paid apart from tax and interest to settle the dispute.

This settlement window was envisaged keeping Cairn and Vodafone retrospective tax disputes in mind. While, these two companies are unlikely to use the scheme, a slew of other entities and individual tax payers have already approached the tax department with queries under this scheme, added sources.

“In addition to the individual notices, the tax department will soon come out with a set of FAQs, trying to answer these queries after which it expects people to start filing their cases for settlement,” sources said.

Till now, the response to this window has been lukewarm, but the finance ministry believes it will pick up pace once people start receiving notices, and the tax department issues FAQs.

The tax department has also planned to publicise the benefits of this window on the similar lines of the domestic black money disclosure window.

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