The Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES) that was launched on May 10, 2013 to enable service tax defaulters to pay dues without penalty or late payment charges, closes tomorrow.
"Up to December 29, 2013 we have received over 40,000 declarations involving over Rs 5,500 crore," Finance Secretary Sumit Bose told reporters here.
In the last four days, the government has received over 16,000 applications involving Rs 1,500 crore of service tax dues, he said.
"I would like to advise that from January 1, 2014 stern action will be taken against service tax evaders and the provisions in the Finance Act relating to arrest and prosecution will be enforced in right earnest," Bose said.
He further said that tax offices would remain open till midnight tomorrow, while the designated branches of banks have been asked to accept collections till 1800 hrs tomorrow.
"All Commissionerates have been advised to accept demand drafts/pay orders submitted by declarants, under the Receipt Payment Rules," he said.
As per the scheme, a defaulter may declare his tax liabilities for the period between October 1, 2007 and December 31, 2012. They would have to pay 50 per cent of the declared tax dues by December 31, 2013.
The scheme was introduced by Finance Minister P Chidambaram while presenting the Union Budget for 2013-14.
The government expects 36 per cent growth in service tax collection target this fiscal to Rs 1.80 lakh crore.