There has been an overwhelming response to the VCES . In the last four days, we have received over 16,000 applications involving Rs. 1500 crores of service tax dues. Upto 29-12-2013 we have received over 40,000 declarations involving over Rs 5500 crores. This would broadly correspond to Rs 55,000 crores of services, which have escaped the tax net. I would like to remind all service providers, both registered and unregistered, that this scheme is open till 31-12-2013 only. There will be no extension of the scheme since the last date is laid down in the Finance Act. We are making every effort to help all declarants. Our offices have been open on Saturdays and this last weekend, even on Sunday. Seeing the response, we have decided that today , the 30th of December 2013, the offices will be open well beyond normal working hours , in order to attend to all those who come in to file their declarations . Tomorrow, the 31st December 2013, the offices will be open till midnight to facilitate acceptance of declarations.
Another special measure is that the Government has also extended banking hours in the designated branches , upto 6 pm on 31-12-2013. In addition, all Commissionerates have been advised to accept demand drafts/ pay orders submitted by declarants, under the Receipt Payment Rules.
It is hoped that with all these measures, the service providers would respond and avail the benefits of VCES. The declarants are once again reminded that they have to pay 50% of the declared tax dues by 31-12-2013, failing which they would be ineligible for the scheme.
I would like to advise that from 1st January, 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.