The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will now link annual appraisals and postings of field officers with their performance in terms of collection under the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme, according official communication.
Collection outcomes would also play a bigger role in the future postings of the field officers.
The latest missive assumes significance since there have been concerns over alleged ‘tax terrorism’ and undue harassment of genuine taxpayers by officials.
The ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme for resolving income tax cases was announced during the 2020-21 Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The scheme will formally be launched during the second leg of Parliament’s Budget session. A target of mopping up Rs 2 lakh crore by March 31 has been set.
There are 4.83 lakh direct tax cases worth over Rs 9 lakh crore pending in various appellate forums, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), high courts and the Supreme Court.
According to the memorandum, the department has told field officers that their annual performance and increments would be linked to the collection outcomes of the disputes they handle.
The CBDT’s missive also comes as the government is desperate to meet fiscal deficit targets. Fiscal deficit has already crossed 128.5 per cent of the full year target as of end-January.
Under the scheme, a taxpayer who pays the disputed tax before March 31, 2020 will get complete waiver of interest and penalty. The scheme would remain open from March 1 to June 30, 2020, and those who avail of it after March 31 would have to pay some additional amount.
Though officially no target have been set, some officers said they have been clearly told to ensure that the scheme mops up at least Rs 1.5 lakh crore to Rs 2 lakh crore and at least Rs 50,000 crore this fiscal.
The government has garnered only 66.3 per cent of tax revenue estimated in the revised estimates of this fiscal as against 68.7 per cent of the full year estimate previous year, according to data released by the Controller General of Accounts on Friday.