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Service Tax Defaulters Face Arrest

Service tax evaders are set to face a tough time. Failing to deposit the tax may attract arrest and imprisonment of up to seven years in addition to the penalty which may extend to Rs 1 lakh. With the passage of Finance Bill 2013 last week, revenue department officials can now arrest a person for nonpayment of collected service tax. Earlier, the officials did not have any power to arrest a person for service tax evasion. This is for the first time that service tax rules have been amended to attract the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in line with customs and central excise. Aimed at widening revenue from indirect tax, the finance ministry has implemented a one-time amnesty scheme for service tax defaulters to pay their due without any penalty or late payment charges. The Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme can be availed by a service tax defaulter by this year end.

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