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Clarifications issued regarding amendments to the Appeal provisions in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax made by Finance Act, 2014
September, 22nd 2014

Circular No 984/08/2014-CX

 

 

F. No. 390/Budget/1/2012-JC

Government of India

Ministry of Finance

Department of Revenue

(Central Board of Excise & Customs)

 

 

 

     New Delhi, dated the 16th September, 2014

 

To,

 

1.         All Chief Commissioners, Central Excise and Service Tax/ Customs.

2.         All Commissioners of Central Excise, Service Tax/ Customs.

3.         Chief Commissioner (AR), CESTAT, New Delhi.

5.         All Commissioners of Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs

6.         All Commissioners (AR), New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore & Ahmadabad

7.         Webmaster

 

 

Sub:     Amendments to the Appeal provisions in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax made by Finance Act, 2014- Issue of clarifications – reg.

 

Sir / Madam,

 

The Finance Act (No.2), 2014 has been enacted on 06.08.2014.  Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 have been substituted with new sections to prescribe mandatory pre-deposit as a percentage of the duty demanded where duty demanded is in dispute or where duty demanded and penalty levied are in dispute.  Where penalty alone is in dispute, the pre-deposit shall be calculated on the penalty imposed.

 

1.2        The amended provisions apply to appeals filed after 6th August, 2014.  Sections 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 contain specific saving clause to state that all pending appeals/stay applications filed till the enactment of the Finance Bill shall be governed by the erstwhile provisions.

 

1.3        Section 35FF of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129EE of the Customs Act, 1962 have also been substituted to provide for payment of refund along with interest at the prescribed rate on the amount pre-deposited from the date of such payment till the date of refund.       In exercise of the powers conferred under the new Section 35FF of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129EE of the Customs Act, NotificationNos 24/2014-CE(NT) and 70/2014-Cus(NT), both dated 12.08.2014 have been issued specifying six percent as rate of interest on refunds made under those sections.

 

1.4        Various doubts / issues have been raised by trade bodies, industry associations and field formations etc. on the implementation of the new provisions. With a view to implement the scheme smoothly, the following clarifications are issued.

 

 

2.         Quantum of pre-deposit in terms of Section 35F of Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962:

 

2.1        Doubts have been expressed with regard to the amount to be deposited in terms of the amended provisions while filing appeal against the order of Commissioner (Appeals) before the CESTAT.  Sub-section (iii) of Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 stipulate payment of 10% of the duty or penalty payable in pursuance of the decision or order being appealed against i.e. the order of Commissioner (Appeal).  It is, therefore, clarified that in the event of appeal against the order of Commissioner (Appeal) before the Tribunal, 10% is to be paid on the amount of duty demanded or penalty imposed by the Commissioner (Appeal).  This need not be the same as the amount of duty demanded or penalty imposed in the Order-in-Original in the said case.

 

2.2        In a case, where penalty alone is in dispute and penalties have been imposed under different provisions of the Act, the pre-deposit would be calculated based on the aggregate of all penalties imposed in the order against which appeal is proposed to be filed.

 

2.3        In case of any short payment or non-payment of the amount stipulated under Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962, the appeal filed is liable for rejection.

 

 

3.         Payment made during investigation:

 

3.1        Payment made during the course of investigation or audit, prior to the date on which appeal is filed, to the extent of 7.5% or 10%, subject to the limit of Rs 10 crores, can be considered to be deposit made towards fulfillment of stipulation under Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962.  Any shortfall from the amount stipulated under these sections shall have to be paid before filing of appeal before the appellate authority.  As a corollary, amounts paid over and above the amounts stipulated under Section 35 F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962, shall not be treated as deposit under the said sections. 

 

3.2        Since the amount paid during investigation/audit takes the colour of deposit under Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 only when the appeal is filed, the date of filing of appeal shall be deemed to be the date of deposit made in terms of the said sections. 

 

3.3        In case of any short-payment or non-payment of the amount stipulated under Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962, the appeal filed by the appellant is liable for rejection.

 

 

4.         Recovery of the Amounts during the Pendency of Appeal:

 

4.1        Vide Circular No.967/1/2013 dated 1st January, 2013, Board has issued detailed instructions with regard to recovery of the amounts due to the Government during the pendency of stay applications or appeals with the appellate authority.  This Circular would not apply to cases where appeal is filed after the enactment of the amended Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962.

 

4.2        No coercive  measures for the recovery of balance amount i.e., the amount in excess of 7.5% or 10% deposited in terms of  Section 35F of Central Excise Act, 1944  or Section 129E of Customs Act, 1962, shall be taken during the pendency of appeal where the  party / assessee shows to the jurisdictional authorities:

(i)         proof of payment of stipulated amount as pre-deposit of 7.5% / 10%, subject to a limit of Rs.10 crores, as  the case may be; and

(ii)         the copy of appeal memo filed with the appellate authority.

 

4.3        Recovery action, if any, can be initiated only after the disposal of the case by the Commissioner (Appeal) / Tribunal in favour of the Department.  For example, if the Tribunal decides a case in favour of the Department, recovery action for the amount over and above the amount deposited under the provisions of Section 35F / 129E may be initiated unless the order of the Tribunal is stayed by the High Court/Supreme court.  The recovery, in such cases, would include the interest, at the specified rate, from the date duty became payable, till the date of payment.

 

 

5.         Refund of pre-deposit:

 

5.1        Where the appeal is decided in favour of the party / assessee, he shall be entitled to refund of the amount deposited along with the interest at the prescribed rate from the date of making the deposit to the date of refund in terms of Section 35FF of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129EE of the Customs Act, 1962.

 

5.2        Pre-deposit for filing appeal is not payment of duty.  Hence, refund of pre-deposit need not be subjected to the process of refund of duty under Section 11B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 27 of the Customs Act, 1962.  Therefore, in all cases where the appellate authority has decided the matter in favour of the appellant, refund with interest should be paid to the appellant within 15 days of the receipt of the letter of the appellant seeking refund, irrespective of whether order of the appellate authority is proposed to be challenged by the Department or not.

 

5.3        If the Department contemplates appeal against the  order of the Commissioner (A) or the order of CESTAT, which is in favour of the appellant, refund along with interest would still be payable unless such order is stayed by a competent Appellate Authority.

 

5.4        In the event of a remand, refund of the pre-deposit shall be payable along with interest.

 

5.5        In case of partial remand where a portion of the duty is confirmed, it may be ensured that the duty due to the Government on the portion of order in favour of the revenue is collected by adjusting the deposited amount along with interest.

 

5.6.       It is reiterated that refund of pre-deposit made should not be withheld on the ground that Department is proposing to file an appeal or has filed an appeal against the order granting relief to the party.  Jurisdictional Commissioner should ensure that refund of deposit made for hearing the appeal should be paid within the stipulated time of 15 days as per para 5.2 supra.

 

 

6.         Procedure and Manner of making the pre-deposits:

 

6.1        E-payment facility can be made use of by the appellants, wherever possible.

 

6.2        A self attested copy of the document showing satisfactory proof of payment shall be submitted before the appellate authority as proof of payment made in terms of Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962.

 

6.3        Column 7 of EA.1, column 6 of CA.1 and column 6 of ST.4 for filing appeal before Commissioner (Appeals), seek details of the duty/penalty deposited.  The same may be used for indicating the deposits made under amended Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962.

 

6.4        The appeal filed before the CESTAT are filed along with the appeal memo in prescribed format (Form EA-3 for Central Excise Appeals and Form CA-3 for the Customs Appeals).  Column 14(i) of the said appeal forms seeks information of payment of duty, fine, penalty, interest along with proof of payment (challan).  These columns may, therefore, be used for the purpose of indicating the amount of deposit made, which shall be verified by the appellate authority before registering the appeal.

 

6.5        As per existing instructions, a copy of the appeal memo along with proof of deposit made shall be filed with the jurisdictional officers.

 

 

7.         Procedure for refund:

 

7.1        A simple letter from the person who has made such deposit, requesting for return of the said amount, along with a self attested Xerox copy of the order in appeal or the CESTAT order  consequent to which the deposit becomes returnable and attested Xerox copy of  the document evidencing payment of such deposit, addressed to Jurisdictional Assistant/Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise and Service Tax or the Assistant/Deputy Commissioner of Customs, as the case may be, would suffice for refund of the amount deposited along with interest at the rate specified.

 

7.2        Record of deposits made  under Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944 or section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 should be maintained by the Commissionerate so  as to facilitate seamless verification of the deposits at the time of processing the refund claims made in case of favourable order from the Appellate Authority.

 

 

8.         Amendment to Preamble of Orders:

 

8.1        In order to make the new provisions known to the assessee / trade every adjudicating authority lower in rank to the Commissioner is directed to incorporate the following sentence in the Preamble to the order being issued by them –

            “An appeal against this order shall lie before the Commissioner (Appeal) on payment of 7.5% of the duty demanded where duty or duty and penalty are in dispute or penalty, are in dispute or penalty, where penalty alone is in dispute. ”

8.2        The following may be added in the preamble of the orders issued by the Commissioner (Appeals) –

            “An appeal against this order shall lie before the Tribunal on payment of 10% of the duty demanded where duty or duty and penalty are in dispute, or penalty, where penalty alone is in dispute”.

 

8.3        The following may be added in the preamble of the orders issued by the Commissioner as original adjudicating authority –

 

            “An appeal against this order shall lie before the Tribunal on payment of 7.5% of the duty demanded where duty or duty and penalty are in dispute, or penalty, where penalty alone is in dispute”.

 

9.         Receipt of the Circular may please be acknowledged.

 

10.        Hindi version follows.

(Sunil K. Sinha )

Director (Judicial Cell)

 

 
 
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