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Latest Update (Outcome from Union budget 2021)
Prosecution is the conducting of legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge.
Any person committing the following offences (i.e., deliberate intention of fraud) becomes liable to prosecution, i.e., face criminal charges.
The person committing any of the offences above shall be punished as follows:
|Tax amount involved||100-200 lakhs||200-500 lakhs||Above 500 lakhs|
|Bailable or Non-Bailable||Bailable||Bailable||Bailable**|
|Jail term||Upto 1 year||Upto 3 years||Upto 5 years|
**If a person commits the following offences AND the amount involved exceeds 500 lakhs then the offences are non-bailable-
This is in keeping with the government’s anti-tax evasion stance by bringing in stricter measures.
For destroying evidence, preventing the officer from his duty, falsifying information or helping someone in the same, he is liable for up to 6 months imprisonment with fine
If the offense is repeated a second time then punishment can extend up to 5 years with fine. A person can not be prosecuted without the prior sanction of the Commissioner.
Compounding of offences is a shortcut method to avoid litigation. In the case of prosecution for an offence in a criminal court, the accused has to appear before the Magistrate at every hearing through an advocate. Court proceedings are time-consuming and expensive. In compounding, the accused is not required to appear personally and can be discharged on payment of compounding fee which cannot be more than the maximum fine leviable under the relevant provisions. GST Act also allows for compounding of offences.
Compounding will not be available for-
Compounding will be allowed only after payment of all tax, interest and penalty dues.
The amount payable for compounding of offences shall be 50% of the tax involved subject to a minimum Rs. 10,000. Maximum amount for compounding is 150% of the tax OR Rs. 30,000 -Whichever is higher.
On payment of the compounding amount, no further proceedings shall be initiated against the accused person for the same offence and any criminal proceedings, if already initiated, will be abated. Apart from prosecution, the offender can also be arrested. Please read our article on arrest under GST. Thus, we find that GST has severe prosecutions to punish tax evaders and the corrupt thus keeping in mind the government’s anti-tax evasion stance.