Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 : An Overview

In the Union Budget 2019-20, the Hon’ble Finance Minister announced the Sabka Vishwas-Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019. The Scheme has now been notified and will be operationalized from 1st September 2019. The Scheme would continue till 31st December 2019.

Government expects the Scheme to be availed by a large number of taxpayers for closing their pending disputes relating to legacy Service Tax and Central Excise cases that are now subsumed under GST so they can focus on GST.

The two main components of the Scheme are dispute resolution and amnesty. The dispute resolution component is aimed at liquidating the legacy cases of Central Excise and Service Tax that are subsumed in GST and are pending in litigation at various forums.

The amnesty component of the Scheme offers an opportunity to the taxpayers to pay the outstanding tax and be free of any other consequence under the law.

The most attractive aspect of the Scheme is that it provides substantial relief in the tax dues for all categories of cases as well as full waiver of interest, fine, penalty, In all these cases, there would be no other liability of interest, fine or penalty. There is also a complete amnesty from prosecution.

There are 4 Cases specified under the Scheme:

1. For all the cases pending in adjudication or appeal (in any forum):

This Scheme offers a relief of 70% from the duty demand if it is Rs.50 lakhs or less and 50% if it is more than Rs. 50 lakhs.

2. For cases under investigation and audit:

The same relief is available for cases under investigation and audit where the duty involved is quantified and communicated to the party or admitted by him in a statement on or before 30th June, 2019.

3. For cases of confirmed duty demand:

Further, in cases of confirmed duty demand, where there is no appeal pending, the relief offered is 60% of the confirmed duty amount if the same is Rs. 50 lakhs or less and it is 40%, if the confirmed duty amount is more than Rs. 50 lakhs.

4. For cases of Voluntary Disclosure:

Finally, in cases of voluntary disclosure, the person availing the Scheme will have to pay only the full amount of disclosed duty.

Important- If any SCN has been issued only for the Late Fee or Penalty amount and the tax amount is already paid then the ENTIRE Late Fee/Penalty amount shall be waived. 

Cases which are not covered under the Scheme:

a. Appeal before the appellate forum and heard FINALLY on or before 30th June 2019
b. CONVICTED for any offense for the matters for which he intends to file a declaration
c. Issued an SCN and Final hearing has taken place on or before 30th June 2019
d. Issued an SCN for ERRONEOUS REFUND or Refund
e. Excisable goods from Fourth Sch. to the Central Excise Act, 1944 (i.e. tobacco and specified petroleum products)
f. Subjected to inquiry or investigation or audit and duty involved has NOT BEEN QUANTIFIED on or before 30th June 2019
g. Application is in the SETTLEMENT COMMISSION
h. Voluntary Disclosure after being subjected to any enquiry/investigation/audit & filed a return, indicating duty as payable, but has not paid it.

As the objective of the Scheme is to free as large a segment of the taxpayers from the legacy taxes as possible, the relief given thereunder is substantial.

The Scheme is especially tailored to free a large number of small taxpayers of their pending disputes with the tax administration. Government urges the taxpayers and all concerned to avail the SabkaVishwas – Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019, and make a new beginning.

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