Concerned over huge revenues in form of customs, services and excise duties locked up in litigations, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has constituted a committee to suggest steps to bring down such cases.

“Rising litigation with taxpayers is matter of serious concern for the government. A need for reducing the litigation has been emphasised by the Finance Minister... As per the directions of the Finance Minister, a Standing Committee has been constituted in the Central Board of Excise and Customs to look into the issue,” the Revenue Department said.

As on March on September 2010, there were 83,213 litigations involving over Rs. 59,000 crore of indirect taxes pending before the Supreme Court, High Courts, the CESTAT and the Commissioner (Appeals).

The panel, in the CBEC, will identify systemic causes for litigation and prepare a roadmap for reducing existing and future litigations on the indirect tax side, the Revenue Department said.

The committee consists of two members of the board, nominated officials of the CBEC, and a representative of Law Ministry.

A similar committee was also set up for reducing cases related to the income tax.

With an aim to generate public feedback, the committee has also sought comments from taxpayers, trade associations and all others till March 31, 2012.

They have been asked to provide feedback on the causes, systematic or otherwise, “that are perceived as contributor to avoidable litigation on indirect tax side”.

The government aims to collect Rs. 3.93 lakh crore from indirect taxes this fiscal.

While presenting Budget for 2011-12, Mr. Mukherjee had said that substantial amounts of revenue in both direct and indirect taxes, remain locked up in appeals at different levels.

Under the National Litigation Policy, several steps have been initiated for reducing litigations and focusing attention on high revenue cases.

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