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Chidambaram cautions evaders of service tax

Special Correspondent
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Government can’t come up with the VCES each year, he says

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram asking journalists to leave the auditorium soon after his speech at the interactive meeting with traders in Hyderabad on Wednesday. -Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram asking journalists to leave the auditorium soon after his speech at the interactive meeting with traders in Hyderabad on Wednesday. -Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram on Wednesday gave a veiled caution to the evaders of service tax in the country.

Speaking to businessmen at Andhra Pradesh Police Academy, Hyderabad, about the amnesty scheme for service tax evaders, he said it is the last chance to set the evasion right.

“We deliberately adopted a benign model and decided not to be harsh. But the Tax Department will not spare both the stopped filers and no filers. Only seven lakh out of total 17 lakh assesses pay tax. We can’t think of another generous opportunity,” Chidambaram said. The government cannot come up with the Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES) each year. It ends by December 31 this year, he said.

The VCES is once in a life-time opportunity. There will not be intent to penalise or prosecute anyone who comes up with disclosure. There were only 15 people arrested across the country so far. But the government does not want to arrest anyone or prosecute anyone, according to Chidambaram.

The Finance Minister has also used the emotional card on the businessmen by saying, “how can you say to yourself by looking in the mirror that you are 100 per cent honest except in the case of paying tax.” Of the total 9,000 declarations by the businessmen, only 107 were rejected after scrutiny by senior officers committee, he said.

Refuses to speak

to media

Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram avoided interacting with the media during his meeting with businessmen, which itself was held amid tight police security in AP Police Academy.

After conveying his message to businessmen on service tax, he asked video and still camera persons to ‘pack up and leave’ the conference hall. In the same breath, he asked the scribes also to leave, as he wanted to have an exclusive interaction with the businessmen.

In the wake of the State bifurcation issue, Mr. Chidambaram’s act disappointed media persons as he is considered a leading light of the Group of Ministers (GoM). The Finance Minister made sure that the last media person has left the hall before starting his exclusive speech. “There is no interaction with the media. Please leave the hall”, he said when he spotted a couple of camerapersons, who were late in packing up their equipment.


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