10 February 2020

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Direct Taxation

Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 introduced in Lok Sabha


The Minister of Finance introduced the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 on February 5, 2020, a mechanism for resolving tax disputes pending in various Appellate Forums. The last date to file declaration will be notified by the Central Government. The Principal Chief Commissioner will designate an officer, not below the rank of a Commissioner of Income Tax, as the designated authority to manage the proposed resolution mechanism. The bill seeks to reduce litigation expenditure. While Introducing the Bill, 2020, the Minister said that, this bill emphasises on trust-building.

The Bill defines an Appellant as the income tax authority, or the person, or both, whose appeal is pending before any appellate forum as on January 31, 2020. These appellate forums are the Supreme Court, the High Courts, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunals, and the Commissioner (Appeals). The proposed mechanism will not cover disputes: (i) where prosecution has been initiated before the declaration is filed, (ii) 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, and (iii) involving undisclosed foreign income or assets. For dispute resolution, the Appellant is required to furnish an undertaking waiving his rights to seek any remedy or claim in relation to that dispute under any law, including the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act)

When a dispute is resolved, the designated authority cannot levy interest or penalty in relation to that dispute. Further, no appellate forum can make a decision in relation to the matter of dispute, once it is resolved. Those matters cannot be reopened in any proceeding under any law, including the IT Act. Further, the declaration filed by an Appellant will become invalid, if its particulars are found to be false and he violates any of the conditions referred to in the IT Act.

Tags : Settlement Disputes Bill

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