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Govt goes soft on customs duty fraudsters, penalty reduced by 10%

Govt goes soft on customs duty fraudsters, penalty reduced by 10%
The penalty in cases of customs duty fraud has been reduced by 10 <g data-gr-id="60">per cent</g> by the Finance Ministry.

Section 28 of the Customs Act, 1962, has been amended and now the amount of penalty payable in cases involving fraud, collusion, <g data-gr-id="38">wilful</g> <g data-gr-id="37">mis-statement</g> or suppression of facts with the intent to evade payment of duty, shall be fifteen <g data-gr-id="39">per cent</g> instead of 25 per cent. Also, there will be a penalty not exceeding ten per cent of the duty sought to be evaded or Rs 5,000, whichever is higher, for improper export and import of goods.

Sections 112 and 114 of the Customs Act which, respectively provide for penalty for improper import and export of goods, have been amended by insertion of new clauses to provide for a penalty of up to 10 <g data-gr-id="36">per cent</g> of the duty sought to be evaded or Rs 5,000, whichever is higher, according to Finance Act, 2015.

The Ministry has also rationalised imposition of penalty on central excise duty and service tax evasions by fraud and other means. In case of any wilful evasion of central excise duty, a penalty equal to the duty evasion will be payable. Similarly, the penalty will be hundred per cent of Service Tax amount involved in such cases.

A reduced penalty equal to 15 <g data-gr-id="34">per cent</g> of the Service Tax amount is to be paid if Service Tax, interest and reduced penalty <g data-gr-id="53">is</g> paid within 30 days of service of notice in this regard, the Act said. There will be no penalty imposed on an assessee if the customs, excise duties or service tax are not properly <g data-gr-id="52">levied,</g> if those amounts along with interest are paid within 30 days of issuance of show-cause notices, it said.

The penalty waiver, which is part of Finance Act, 2015, that got President Pranab Mukherjee’s assent last month, is applicable in cases of fraud, collusion or wilful <g data-gr-id="35">mis-statements</g>.

M Post Bureau

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