Income Tax Department relaxes various norms for compounding of offense – what should you know

The income tax department on Saturday said it has relaxed various norms relating to compounding of offenses under the IT Act and allowed compounding in cases where the applicant has been sentenced to up to two years of imprisonment.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued revised guidelines for Compounding of offenses under the Income-tax Act, 1961 with reference to various offenses covered under the prosecution provisions of the Act.

“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 previously being non-compoundable, has now been made compoundable. The discretion available with the competent authority has also been suitably restricted,? the IT Department said in a statement.

Also, the offense punishable under Section 276 of the IT Act has now been made compoundable.

If the taxpayer fraudulently removes, conceals, transfers or delivers to any person, any property or interest therein, intending thereby to prevent that property or interest therein from being attached for recovery of tax, then prosecution proceedings can be initiated under section 276.

Compounding allows the person to accept his offense and pay specified charges to avoid prosecution.

As per the revised guidelines dated September 16, the time limit for acceptance of compounding applications has been relaxed from the earlier limit of 24 months to 36 months from the date of filing of the complaint.

Also, 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 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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