In its latest directive, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) launched a one-time facility for taxpayers to apply for compounding of income tax offences. The deadline to apply for it is 31 December 2019.
The CBDT said that this one-time measure was being taken to reduce the unintended hardship on taxpayers in deserving cases and lower the number of pending prosecution cases before the courts.
"Cases have been brought to the notice of CBDT where the taxpayers could not apply for compounding of the offence as the compounding application was filed beyond 12 months," the directive dated 9 September said, according to a PTI report.
To avail the facility, the taxpayer will have to file an application for compounding a tax offence before the competent authority, that is a Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner, Principal Director General or Director General of Income-tax department on or before 31 December 2019.
Compounding in income tax parlance means that the tax authorities will not file a prosecution case against the offender or tax evader in the court in lieu of payment of due taxes and surcharges.
The directive clarified that relaxation will not be provided with respect to serious cases of tax evasion, financial crime, terror financing, money laundering, possession of illegal foreign assets, benami properties or offences that been convicted by a court in the past.
Compounding can be filed for cases where prosecution proceedings are pending before any court of law for more than 12 months or any compounding application for an offence filed previously was withdrawn by the applicant solely for the reason that such application was filed beyond 12 months or any compounding application for an offence had been rejected previously solely for technical reasons.