Aiming to decriminalize offences, CBDT releases revised composition guidelines

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New Delhi, September 17 (IANS): Aiming to decriminalize offences, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Saturday issued revised guidelines for the constitution of offenses under the Income Tax Act 1961 with reference to various offenses covered by its provisions in matters of prosecution.

Some of the key changes to benefit taxpayers include making the offense punishable under section 276 of the act as compoundable. In addition, the scope of eligibility for case composition has been relaxed, so that the case of an applicant who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of less than 2 years and who was previously not likely to be composed, is henceforth rendered capable of being composed. The discretionary power available to the competent authority has also been appropriately restricted.

According to the department, the time for accepting requests for preparation has been relaxed from the previous limit of 24 months to 36 months now, from the date of filing the complaint. In addition, procedural complexities have also been reduced and simplified.

Officials said specific upper limits have been introduced for compound fees covering defects in several provisions of the law. Additional capitalized charges in the form of penalty interest at the rate of 2% per month up to 3 months and 3% per month beyond 3 months have been reduced to 1% and 2%, respectively.

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