Parliament Passes Vivad se Vishwas Bill 2020

1. The Parliament on Friday approved the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020, which will give taxpayers a chance to settle tax disputes by paying their dues without any interest or penalty till March 31.

2. The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Finance, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman.  

3. The Bill, which had been passed by the Lok Sabha on March 4, was approved by the Rajya Sabha on Friday by a voice vote.

4. The Rajya Sabha passed a motion to  send it back to the Lok Sabha as it is a money bill. 

5. The bill seeks to resolve around 4.83 lakh direct tax cases that are currently pending in the various appellate forums of the country including the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

6. The Vivad Se Vishwas scheme waives off interest and penalty on pending tax if paid by March 31. For payments made after March 31 and till June 30, a 10% penalty would be charged.

7. In case of arrears related to disputed interest or penalty then, 25 percent of the disputed penalty or interest will have to be paid if the payment is done by March 31, 2020.

8. After the set deadline, instead of 25 percent, the taxpayers will have to pay 30 percent of the disputed penalty or interest as arrear.

9. Once the bill is passed by both the houses of the Parliament, it can be available in the tax recoveries amounting to Rs 5 crore. The scheme will remain open till June 30, 2020.

10. Replying to questions raised by MPs during the discussion, Minister of Finance said the 75% tax on undisclosed cash deposited at the time of demonetisation would still apply. She said a cap of ₹5 crore in dues had been included in the scheme in order to prevent large-scale evasion or fraud-related cases trying to take advantage of the scheme.

11. The proposed mechanism will not cover certain disputes. These include disputes  

  • where prosecution has been initiated before the declaration is filed
  • which involve persons who have been convicted or are being prosecuted for offences under certain laws (such as the Indian Penal Code), or for enforcement of civil liabilities
  • involving undisclosed foreign income or assets

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