The finance ministry on Wednesday said that service tax
defaulters who avail themselves of the amnesty scheme and pay half of their dues by December 31, 2013, can get more time to remit the remaining half until December 31, 2014, provided they pay interest on the dues for the period after June 30. The facility for interest-free payment of the remaining dues to avail of the amnesty scheme ends on June 30, 2014.
Finance minister P Chidambaram had introduced the Service Tax Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme earlier this year promising immunity from interest, penalties and other proceedings to defaulters who sign up and pay half of their dues by December 31, 2013. Defaulters who may be in financial hardship but still wants to avail of the scheme have time to pay their second installment until December 31, 2014, provided they pay interest for six months.
To encourage service tax defaulters to avail of the scheme, the government had also made non-payments above R50 lakh a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Officers do not require a court warrant to initiate a probe or to arrest the accused in case of cognisable offences.