A bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on Wednesday which provides for a mechanism for resolution of pending tax disputes.
The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was introduced in the House by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The introduction of the bill was opposed by Congress members Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Shashi Tharoor. Chowdhury said the bill has a unique nomenclature and the bills are normally in English or Hindi.
He accused the government of “imposing Hindi” and said only 43 per cent of people in the country were Hindi-speaking.
Tharoor sought withdrawal of the bill, saying it was unfair to honest taxpayers and was arbitrary.
Sitharaman said she had used two expressions in her budget speech for resolution of disputed tax cases and had used the Hindi expression in the bill.
“There is no imposition of Hindi,” she said.
The minister said 4.83 lakh direct tax cases were pending and the government was providing a formula-based solution.
Announcing the ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ Scheme in the union budget, Sitharaman had said that the 4.83 lakh direct tax cases were pending in various appellate forums – Commissioner (Appeals), ITAT, High Court and Supreme Court.
She said the scheme, similar to the indirect tax Sabka Vishwas scheme brought in the last budget, was being proposed for reducing litigations even in the direct taxes.
Under the ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme, a taxpayer would be required to pay only the amount of the disputed taxes and will get a complete waiver of interest and penalty provided he pays by March 31, 2020. Those who avail this scheme after March 31 will have to pay some additional amount. The scheme will remain open till June 30, 2020. Taxpayers in whose cases appeals are pending at any level can benefit from this scheme.
The minister had said that the SabkaVishwas scheme had resulted in settling over 1,89,000 cases.