Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed the government’s decision to reduce tax dispute litigation by not filing any appeals except in high-value cases.
He said the decision was in line with his government’s belief of trusting the citizens.
The government had on Wednesday decided it will not file any appeals in appellate tribunals, High Courts and the Supreme Court in cases involving an amount less than Rs 20 lakh, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore respectively.
The earlier limit for filing an appeal in appellate tribunals was Rs 10 lakh while it was Rs 20 lakh for High Courts and Rs 25 lakh for the Supreme Court.
“This move will result in withdrawal of 41 per cent of total cases by CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) and 18 per cent of total cases by CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs). This is in line with our government’s belief of trusting our citizens,” Modi said in a tweet.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said while this move will lead to withdrawal of a substantial amount of cases, but will affect only a fraction of the total value of the disputed amount.
He said that as per estimates, there were tax disputes worth Rs 7.6 lakh crore pending in various appeal tribunals, high courts and the Supreme Court till March 2017.
“Out of this, 66 per cent of cases amount to only 1.8 per cent value of the total litigation value of Rs 7.6 lakh crore,” Goyal told reporters here.
“Often it has been found that the cost of litigation is greater than the recovery amount… So to minimise litigation, the government has taken this decision,” he added.
In case of income tax, out of total cases filed by the department in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), 34 per cent of cases will be withdrawn. In case of High Courts, 48 per cent of cases will be withdrawn and in case of Supreme Court, 54 per cent of cases will be withdrawn.
“Withdrawing 41 per cent of pending appeals would affect only 0.82 per cent of the total litigation amount,” he said.
Similarly, in case of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), out of total cases filed by the department in Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), 16 per cent of cases will be withdrawn.
In case of High Courts, 22 per cent of cases will be withdrawn and in case of Supreme Court, 21 per cent of cases will be withdrawn.
“And withdrawing 18 per cent of indirect tax related appeals will affect only 1.45 per cent of the litigation amount. Altogether, only Rs 6,000 crore will be forgone by substantially reducing the number of pending litigation,” he said.