The direct tax dispute resolution scheme, Vivad se Vishwas 2020, has so far received an encouraging response. Tax disputes involving Rs 97,000 crore have been settled under the scheme, revenue department sources said. So far, 125,144 cases have been settled under this program, representing 25% of the total 510,419 cases pending in different courts.

The Vivad se Vishwas program was launched in March 2020 just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be open until February 28, 2021. The scheme was introduced with the aim of reducing pending tax disputes, generating timely revenue for the government and benefiting taxpayers by providing peace of mind, certainty and savings in terms of time and resources. that would otherwise be spent in the lengthy and vexatious litigation process.

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Sources indicated that the Vivad se Vishwas program received 15 times better response compared to the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution System (DTDRS) in 2016; the disputed amount settled under it is 153 times that of DTDRS.

The DTDR program in 2016 resolved 8,600 cases and settled disputes worth Rs 631 Crore. A similar scheme in 1998 – Kar Vivad Samadhan Scheme – settled disputes worth Rs 739 crore.

Sources said the Vivad se Vishwas scheme allows taxpayers in dispute with the tax authority to start afresh. It also helps to forever cleanse the tax ecosystem of its litigation legacy, saving costs and resources for all parties involved in tax litigation.

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Unlike its earlier counterparts, the Vivad se Vishwas program has within its scope all appeals or SLPs pending as of January 31, 2020, in the courts up to the Supreme Court. The scheme provides cover for cases pending before the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRP) or where directions have been issued but the order has not been adopted by the DRP by January 31, 2020. Revision (under Section 264) filed by January 31, 2020 are also covered.

Sources said the establishment of the Dispute Settlement Committee (DRC) announced in the recent budget presented to parliament on Monday is also a continuation of the Vivad Se Vishwas programme. In the DRC, a new impetus must be given to resolve disputes in the best interest of small taxpayers in a Tax Lok Adaalat format that would bring transparency and accountability in an anonymous way.

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