Govt cuts penalty for customs duty fraud by 10%

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NEW DELHI: Making amendments to the Customs Act, the government has reduced by 10 percent the penalty applicable on customs duty fraud, it was announced on Tuesday.

The amount of penalty payable in cases involving fraud, collusion, wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts with the intent to evade payment of duty, will be 15 percent instead of 25 percent, an official statement said.

Moreover, there will be a penalty not exceeding 10 percent of the duty sought to be evaded or Rs.5,000, whichever is higher, for evading duty on export and import of goods.

As per the Finance Act, 2015, that got President Pranab Mukherjee’s assent last month, the relevant sections of the Customs Act which provide for penalty for improper import and export of goods have been amended to provide for a penalty of up to 10 percent of the duty sought to be evaded, or Rs.5,000, whichever is higher.

The finance ministry has also rationalised penalties for central excise duty and service tax evasions.

In case of any wilful evasion of central excise duty, a penalty equal to the duty evasion will be payable. Besides, the penalty will be 100 percent of the service tax amount involved in such cases.

As per the amendment, there will be no penalty imposed on an assessee if the customs, excise duties or service tax are not properly levied, and if those amounts along with interest are paid within 30 days of issuance of show-cause notices.

The penalty waiver is applicable in cases of fraud, collusion or wilful mis-statements.

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