In a step forward towards ease of doing business, the government has proposed an amnesty scheme for old disputes relating to Central Excise and Service Tax for a faster closure of such disputes and litigations.

On Friday, Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister in her maiden budget speech proposed “Sabka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019”, with the aim of unlocking over Rs.3.75 lakh crore involved in pending cases related to service tax and excise duty.

The relief proposed under the scheme varies from 40 per cent to 70 per cent of the tax dues for cases other than voluntary disclosure cases, depending on the amount of tax dues involved. The scheme also provides for relief from payment of interest and penalty.

FM while presenting the budget said huge pending litigations from pre-GST regime is a matter of concern. She also told the Lok Sabha that more than Rs 3.75 lakh crore was blocked in litigations in service tax and excise. FM also urged the businesses to avail this opportunity and be free from legacy litigations .Excise duty and service tax, along with 15 other indirect taxes were subsumed into the Goods and Services tax (GST) that came into force about two years ago on July 1, 2017.

Eligibility for this scheme comes with the following exclusions.

Persons ineligible for the scheme: -
· Person making Voluntary disclosure.
· Person convicted under the Act in the case for which he intends to make declaration. 
· Any Person who have filed an application before the Settlement Commission.

For a person making voluntary disclosure under the scheme, the relief is regarding waiver of interest and penalty on payment of full tax dues disclosed. Also, the person discharged under the scheme would not be liable for prosecution.
The scheme provides for method of payment of tax dues, arrears and restrictions regarding the manner of payment. It will become available from a date to be notified. The procedural details and rules regarding this are still awaited.