Amnesty Scheme for Developers / Builders in Haryana–Government Releases Ordinance
By CA Ankit Gulgulia (Jain)
In what appears as a step towards creating space under law to introduce the amnesty scheme for developers and buillders in state of Haryana for the period prior to 1st April, 2015 the state government have released an ordinance for amendment of Section 59A of the Act.
Section 59A was first inserted vide Ordinance No. 7 of 2014 dated 2nd September, 2014 which inserted the section as under:-
"59A. Amnesty scheme.--Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act and rules made thereunder, the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, notify amnesty scheme for recovering old arrears of taxes which are outstanding and are difficult to recover inspite of various efforts, for the period prior to 1st April, 2014 subject to such conditions and restrictions, as may be specified in the scheme.".
Now vide Ordinance No. 1 of 2016 dated 13th January, 2016 the government has amended the above section 59A and substituted as under:-
“59A Amnesty Scheme.-Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act and rules framed thereunder, the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, notify amnesty scheme covering payment of tax, interest, penalty or any other dues under the Act, for the period prior to the 1st April, 2015, subject to such conditions and restrictions, as may be specified therein, covering tax, rates of tax, period of limitation, interest, penalty or any other dues payable by a class of dealers or classes of dealers or all dealers.”.Clearly with the above amendments, one can interpret that :-
a) The intention shall be to allow amnesty for the period prior to 1st April, 2015.
b) Initially, the interest and penalty / other dues were not envisaged in the enabling provision of section 59A. Now that has been enabled and hence the complete liability (including tax , interest and penalty) can be governed via the amnesty scheme.
c) Still, whether the same can resolve the issues in the state will depend on the condition and limitations of the scheme once it is prescribed.
d) Note:- The above ordinance is not specifically for amnesty scheme on developers / builders. It is author’s view based on recent developments in Haryana VAT.