17 June 2024

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Direct Taxation

Parliament passes the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020


The Parliament has given its nod to Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020. The ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ Scheme was announced during the Union Budget, 2020, for resolution of disputes in respect of pending income tax litigation. Pursuant to the Budget announcement, the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 (Vivad se Vishwas) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 5th of February, 2020 and passed by it on 4th of March, 2020. While Introducing the Bill, 2020, the Minister said that, this bill emphasises on trust-building. The objective is to reduce pending income tax litigation, generate timely revenue for the Government and benefit taxpayers by providing them peace of mind, certainty and savings on account of time and resources that would otherwise be spent on the long-drawn and vexatious litigation process.

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)

Vivad se Vishwas is not available for disputes pending before Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR). However, if the order passed by AAR has determined the total income of an assessment year and writ against such order is pending in HC, the Appellant would be eligible to apply for the Vivad se Vishwas. 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. Vivad se Vishwas can be availed by the Appellant irrespective of whether the tax arrears have been paid either partly or fully or are outstanding.

Tags : Vivad se Vishwas Bill Approval

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