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FinMin raises monetary threshold to trigger arrest, prosecution for indirect tax evasion
October, 29th 2015

The government on Friday eased the penal provisions to reduce harassment of overseas travellers. It raised fourfold to Rs 20 lakh the limit of undeclared or mis-declared baggage that will attract arrest or prosecution.

Monetary limits have also been revised upwards for triggering arrests or prosecution in case of duty evasion or wrongful availing of input credits.

Currently, overseas travellers can pay a fine for any undeclared or misdeclared baggage of a value up to Rs 5 lakh.

Any such baggage beyond this limit attracts prosecution or arrest. The finance ministry has now raised this limit to Rs 20 lakh.

“In cases of outright smuggling or mis-declaration of baggage, the limits regarding value of offending goods have been revised from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh,” the finance ministry stated.

Similarly, the monetary limits for arrests and prosecution have been raised for offenders under other acts including Central Excise, Customs and Service Tax.

However, there will be no limit for arrest and prosecution in the cases of smuggling of fake Indian currency notes, arms, ammunitions and explosives and endangered species.

Also, the procedure for arrest and sanction of prosecution has been revised and specified with adequate safeguards to ensure that these powers are exercised only in serious cases above the revised thresholds.

For tax evasion or wrongful utilisation of input tax credit of central excise and service tax, the threshold has been increased to Rs 1 crore from Rs 25 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively, said the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

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