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Amnesty Plea For Tax Litigations

Bhubaneswar: The Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Limited (UCCI) which represents various organizations engaged in trade, commerce, MSME, Industry, services etc., today urged the Odisha Government to bring out an amnesty scheme for trades, businesses entangled in various litigations related to Sales Tax, VAT, Entry Tax etc., which are since abolished after GST came in to effect.

In a letter to Odisha Chief Secretary, UCCI President Brahma Mishra said, “We would like to suggest the State Government to introduce an amnesty scheme to settle tax dues prior to GST. The scheme may be made valid for one year from the date of such promulgation.”

Mr.Mishra said that Odisha Sales Tax Act, Central Sales Tax Act, Odisha value added Tax, Odisha entry tax Act, Odisha Octroi tax etc. collected earlier, were abolished after the GST came in to force in 2017. However, various demands of arrears, penalties etc. are still pending and many such demands are languishing in various courts.

 “So, the introduction of an amnesty scheme, besides saving huge productive time, energy and money spent in such old cases instituted under the redundant law, would free up departmental officers who are otherwise giving their time to these cases. Once the cases are settled, both the department and the assessees can take care of the GST compliance better,” the UCCI President wrote.

“The new scheme may provide an opportunity to the defaulters to pay part of their tax by paying some percentage of the demand within a fixed date and the rest in few installments as may be provided in the Scheme,” suggested Mishra, adding that the demands may be settled at 50% of the VAT/CST/other Tax disputed, and the interest and penalty may be waived off completely.

Citing the example of States like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala which have already introduced Amnesty scheme which have brought encouraging results, Mr.Mishra said, “We expect, with an attractive scheme, nearly 50 percent cases are likely to be cleared which will not only improve the case flow with the traders but also bring additional fund to the State.”