Aiming decriminalisation of offences, CBDT issues revised guidelines for compounding

Aiming decriminalisation of offences, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Saturday issued revised guidelines for compounding of offences under the Income Tax Act, 1961 with reference to various offences covered under its prosecution provisions.

Some of the major changes made for the benefit of taxpayers include making the offence punishable under Section 276 of the Act as compoundable. Further, the scope of eligibility for compounding of cases has been relaxed whereby the case of an applicant who has been convicted with imprisonment for less than 2 years being previously non-compoundable, has now been made compoundable. The discretion available with the competent authority has also been suitably restricted.

As per the department, the time limit for acceptance of compounding applications has been relaxed from the earlier limit of 24 months to 36 months now, from the date of filing of the complaint. Besides, procedural complexities have also been reduced and simplified.

Officials said that specific upper limits have been introduced for the compounding fee covering defaults across several provisions of the Act. Additional compounding charges in the nature of penal interest at the rate of 2 per cent per month up to 3 months and 3 per cent per month beyond 3 months have been reduced to 1 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.

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