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Chandigarh, : In a major reprieve to the business community especially the small and medium businessmen to sail through these trying times amid Covid-19, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday approved the ‘Punjab One Time Settlement Scheme for Recovery of Outstanding Dues-2021’ to clear and settle their pending arrears. With implementation of OTS, the state exchequer would bear a financial burden of Rs.121.06 crore. Divulging the details, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the scheme would be implemented from February 1, 2021 across the state under which all the dealers whose assessments have been framed upto December 31, 2020 could apply under the scheme till April 30, 2021. The dealer can even submit additional statutory forms like C-forms which were not produced at the time of assessment, with the application form and will have to make the self-assessment and submit the proof of payment net tax payable as the result of settlement. The concerned Ward in-charge would issue an order of settlement which would not be reopened in any proceeding by way of review or revision. It may be recalled that COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented situation for all sections of the society. Business community, especially, the small dealers have suffered a lot due to lockdown and subsequent decline in the business activity. Various trade associations raised a concern that they are facing difficulties in procuring statutory forms prescribed under the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 for availing concessional/nil rate of tax on interstate transactions. They also urged the state government for settling their outstanding dues by introduction of One Time Settlement Scheme for the clearance and settlement of outstanding arrears under Punjab Value Added tax Act, 2005 and Central Sales tax Act, 1956. Notably, GST has been implemented in the entire country with effect from July 1, 2017. For the smooth functioning in GST regime, it is necessary and expedient to dispose of the pending assessments under the Punjab VAT Act, 2005 and CST Act-1956. In addition to this, it is also necessary that the arrears in legacy cases be recovered and settled as early as possible. Assessments pertaining to the financial year 2013-14 were framed for 47,627 dealers. With the implementation of the OTS, from the assessments conducted for the year 2013-14, for 40,000 plus dealers with demand upto Rs.1 lakh would get 90% relief in tax and 100% relief in interest and penalty. They would be required to pay only 10 percent of due tax and zero amount on account of interest or penalty. Thus, these 40,000 plus dealers are required to deposit only Rs.6.70 crores against the total demand of Rs.90.52 crores. Apart from this, 4755 dealers with demands ranging from Rs.1-5 lakhs would get 100% relief in interest and penalty in the assessments conducted for the year 2013-14. Likewise, arrears of demand are pending for various reasons in 7004 cases pertaining to the financial years from 2005-06 to 2012-13. With the implementation of this OTS, dealers in 4037 of these cases would get 90% tax relief and 100% relief in interest and penalty. They would be required to deposit Rs.51 lakhs only to settle the outstanding demand of Rs.9 crores. Furthermore, the litigation is expected to end in 763 more cases pertaining to 2005-06 to 2012-13, as in those cases dealers would get 100% relief in interest and penalty, the spokesperson added.

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