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FM serves ultimatum on service tax evaders

Special Correspondent
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P. Chidambaram
P. Chidambaram

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, on Wednesday, said that the ongoing amnesty scheme for service tax evaders, which ends on December 31, would be the ‘last chance’ for them to comply with tax regulations.

An opportunity

Speaking at the inaugural of an interactive session with businesspersons, taxpayers and tax professionals here, Mr. Chidambaram said the voluntary compliance encouragement scheme (VCES) was “an opportunity to come clean and make a fresh start.”

‘Fair and generous’

The Finance Minister said the government’s offer was ‘fair and generous.’ Any such a similar scheme was unlikely for at least two decades, he added. He pointed out that the last ‘true’ amnesty scheme was launched in 1997. Although 17 lakh service providers had ‘voluntarily’ registered, only seven lakh paid service tax, he said. The ten lakh service providers who did not pay tax had been classified as no-filers and stop-filers, he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said tax administrators, the Customs Department and the Financial Intelligence Unit had “a lot of information (about tax payers),” gathered from various economic entities, which could be “used to identify tax evaders.”

“Believe me, we have the information and the technology to construct a 360-degree view profile of such persons,” he said. “This is how we have identified a number of chronic tax evaders, and arrest a number of such persons,” he added.

The Finance Minister said that although 107 applications under the VCES had been rejected, they would be reviewed after the December 31 deadline.

Union Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose said 9,000 applications, involving an amount of Rs.2,000 crore, had been received so far. Bangalore, he said, lagged behind centres such as Kolkata in the matter of collections under the VCES, Mr. Bose said.

Amnesty scheme

is the last

chance, says Chidambaram

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