Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, May 21
The government is all set to bring a one-time settlement policy for over 44,000 defaulters of various state taxes, including Value Added Tax and Central Sales Tax.
According to information, the government is making a case to let off nearly 27,000 of the defaulters, who owe a very small amount to the government. The government will concentrate its energy on those whose default in taxes is of high value and will try and recover tax from them.
It is learnt that most of the tax defaulters are those who did not pay tax under the Punjab VAT Act, 2005 (21,734 defaulters owing Rs 11,810.34 crore as tax, interest and penalty). This is followed by defaulters under the Central Sales Tax Act (19,026 defaulters owing Rs 2,573.86 crore), the Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Act (1,952 defaulters owing Rs 690.39 crore) and the Punjab General Sales Tax Act (689 defaulters owing Rs 297.65 crore).
Other than this, there are some defaulters under the PVAT and Punjab Entertainment Tax Act. Together, the number of persons who have not paid the taxes are 44,313, and the total dues from them are Rs 15,410.35 crore. All these cases have been pending since Goods and Services Tax was rolled out in 2017. Most of these taxes were subsumed in the GST.
A senior official in the state taxation department said of the total dues, nearly Rs 5,000 crore of unpaid taxes are due from the government good procurement agencies.
A Cabinet sub-committee formed for the purpose of preparing a draft of the OTS policy has reportedly agreed on the broad framework for the policy. This sub-committee is headed by Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and has Education Minister Harjot Bains and Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer as its members.
It is learnt that the committee has agreed that the OTS policy will allow them to concentrate on recovering higher value amount and at the same time cleaning up their ledgers by waiving minor dues from a larger section of defaulters. Cheema said the draft was being given the final shape and will be presented before the Cabinet soon for its final approval.
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