In order to facilitate ease of doing business and decriminalise offences, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued revised guidelines for compounding of offences under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Among other steps, it has relaxed the scope of eligibility for compounding of cases.
“In conformity with the government’s policy of facilitating Ease of Doing Business and decriminalisation of offences, CBDT has taken steps in this direction and issued revised Guidelines for Compounding of offences under the Income-tax Act, 1961(the ‘Act’) dated September 16, 2022, with reference to various offences covered under the prosecution provisions of the Act,” the CBDT said.
It added that some of the major changes made for the benefit of taxpayers include making offence punishable under Section 276 of the Act as compoundable. Further, the scope of eligibility for compounding of cases has been relaxed whereby 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.
“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 complaint. Procedural complexities have also been reduced/simplified,” the CBDT said.
It also said 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 three months and 3 per cent per month beyond three months have been reduced to 1 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.
Recently, the income tax department said gross direct tax collections for FY 2022-23 up to September 8, 2022, are at Rs 6.48 lakh crore, higher by 35.46 per cent over gross collections for the corresponding period of the preceding year.
Net collections at Rs 5.29 lakh crore are 30.17 per cent higher than net collections for the same period last year.