The Income Tax department has directed its field offices to withdraw by August 20 the appeals pending before tribunals and courts that are below the fixed monetary threshold. In a circular issued today, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that the pending appeals or special leave petitions (SLPs) should be withdrawn "on priority" to enable the department to focus on high value litigations. In order to reduce litigation, the government had, last week, hiked the threshold limit for filing appeals in tribunals to Rs 20 lakh, while the same for high courts and the Supreme Court has been raised to Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore, respectively. The earlier threshold for filing such appeals by the tax department in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)\/Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) was Rs 10 lakh, while the same in high courts and Supreme Court was Rs 20 lakh and Rs 25 lakh respectively. The circular instructed the Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax to "personally ensure that the exercise of withdrawing\/not pressing such appeals is concluded latest by August 20, 2018". It also asked them to submit to the CBDT a report stating all such appeals that have been withdrawn\/not pressed and specify the tax effect involved in all the cases. As of March, 2017, tax disputes worth Rs 7.6 lakh crore were stuck in various stages of litigation in tribunals, High Courts and Supreme Court. With the government decision to hike the threshold limit for filing appeals, CBDT will withdraw 41 per cent of the cases stuck, which will have a revenue impact of Rs 4,800 crore.