Ministry of Finance makes unauthorized publication of export and import data an offense
The Ministry of Finance has made unauthorized publication of import and export data an aggravated offence, in which a violator can avoid prosecution by paying an amount consisting of Rs 1 lakh.
Budget 2022-23 inserted Section 135AA into the Customs Act which made the unauthorized publication of information, such as value or quantity, relating to the export or import a criminal offense, resulting in a prison term of up to 6 months or a fine of Rs 50,000.
On August 22, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBIC) notified changes to the Customs Amendment (Composition of Offences) Rules 2022, including offenses under Section 135AA of the customs law.
According to the amendment, the compound fee to be paid by the offender would be “Rs one lakh for the first offence, to be increased by 100% of this amount for each subsequent offence”.
Compounding allows the person to accept their offense and pay specific charges to avoid prosecution.
According to the amendment, the preparing authority would be required to ensure that the applicant has made a full and truthful disclosure for the preparation of the offence.
The authority will be required to dispose of the preparation request within 6 months.
In addition, CBIC has requested Field Offices to organize periodic outreach programs to educate on the benefits of funding arrangements.
Abhishek Jain, KPMG’s partner in India, Indirect Taxation, said the compounding concept allows a assessee to avoid prosecution for specific instances of non-compliance, subject to payment of the applicable compounding fee.
“These changes appear to have been made in an effort to avoid unnecessary litigation, which is the main intention behind incorporating composition provisions into the law,” Jain added.
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