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Scheme push for service tax

Sumit Bose in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Dec. 30: The finance ministry has collected around Rs 5,500 crore from the service tax amnesty scheme, which closes tomorrow.

“In the last four days, we have received over 16,000 applications involving Rs 1,500 crore of service tax dues. Up to December 29, 2013, we have received over 40,000 declarations involving over Rs 5,500 crore. This will broadly correspond to Rs 55,000 crore of services, which had (earlier) escaped the tax net,” finance secretary Sumit Bose said here today.

“From January 1, 2014, stern action will be taken against service tax evaders and provisions in the finance act relating to arrest and prosecution will be enforced in right earnest,” Bose added.

Officials said there were around 17 lakh registered service tax assessees, but only 7 lakh were filing returns regularly.

The ministry suspects the rest to be evaders and plans to crack down on them.

Bose said the amnesty scheme would not be extended.

The Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme enables service tax defaulters to pay dues without penalty or late fee.

Defaulters can declare and pay half of their dues by December. The remaining dues can be paid by June, failing which the defaulters can pay by December 2014 with interest calculated from July.

Bose said tax offices would remain open beyond working hours on Monday and Tuesday. The government has also extended the banking hours in the designated branches up to 6 pm on December 31.

Besides, all tax commissionerates have been advised to accept demand drafts or pay orders.

In the Union budget, the government had said it expected to collect service tax worth Rs 1.8 lakh crore in the current fiscal compared with Rs 1.3 lakh crore targeted last fiscal.

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