Assessee couldn’t avail Benefit of Service Tax Amnesty Scheme due to Covid-19: Delhi HC asks Govt to consider Extension of Scheme [Read Order]

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A division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Mr. Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Ms. Justice Poonam A. Bamba while considering a petition to extend the deadline of Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme 2019 since the assessee could not avail the benefit of the scheme due to pandemic. The deadline to apply for the scheme ended on 30.06.2020.

The petitioner, M/s Docland Services Ltd contended that it had filed an application on 24.12.2019 under the Scheme, in respect of a show cause notice dated 07.09.2018 issued for claiming service tax dues under the Finance Act, 1994. The petitioner received an email from the respondent, which facially communicated to the petitioner that the prescribed form i.e., SVLDRS-3 was appended to the e-mail.

Mr Ruchir Bhatia, the counsel appeared for the petitioner argued that even though the petitioner under the Scheme could have been called upon to pay only 50% of the tax dues (as indicated above); in view of the fact that the deadline fixed under the Scheme had been crossed, the petitioner would be willing to pay the said amount, along with interest, that may be fixed by the respondent. It is the petitioner’s case that because of Covid-19, it could not take necessary steps for availing the benefits of the Scheme, within the timeframe fixed by the respondent.

Disposing the petition, the High Court held that “The Delhi East Commissionerate will, inter alia, consider the submission advanced before us by Mr Bhatia, that in certain cases, exceptions have been made and those wanting to avail the benefits of the Scheme have been entertained, even after the deadline fixed under the Scheme i.e., 30.06.2020 had been crossed. It goes without saying that the concerned officer will pass an order on the merits of the case, after according hearing to the authorized representative of the petitioner. The concerned officer will pass an order within eight (08) weeks of the date of receipt of a copy of the order passed today.”

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Counsel for Appellant:   Mr Ruchir Bhatia

Counsel for Respondent:   Mr Satish Kumar


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