Section 132 talks about cases of tax evasion and penal actions applicable on specific events subject to amount of tax sought to be evaded.This provision provides for prosecution of offenders and the punishment initiated on them.
♠ There can be 12 situations where there can be leakage of government revenue which are as follows-
a) Supply of goods or services or both without the cover of invoice with an intent to evade tax;
b) If any person issues any invoice or bill without actual supply of goods or services or both leading to wrongful input tax credit or refund of tax
c) Any person who avails input tax credit using invoice referred in point (b) above or fraudulently avails input tax credit without any invoice or bill ;
d) Collection of taxes without payment to the Government for a period beyond 3 months of due date;
e) Evasion of tax, or obtaining refund with intent of fraud where such offence is not covered in clause (a) to (d) above;
f) Falsifying financial records or production of false records/ accounts/ documents/ information with an intent to evade tax;
g) Obstructs or prevents any officer from doing his duties under this Act;
h) Acquires or transports or in any other manner deals with any goods which he knows or has reasons to believe are liable for confiscation under this Act or rules made thereunder.
i) Receives or in any way, deals with any supply of services which he knows or has reason to believe are in contravention of any provisions of this law;
(j) Tampers with or destroys any material evidence or documents;
(k) Fails to supply any information which he is required to supply under this law or supply false information;
(l) Attempts or abets the commission of any of the offences mention above.
♠ This section enables institution of prosecution proceedings both against the offenders and also against those persons who are institutional to committing such offence.
The period of imprisonment and quantum of fine varies depending on the amount of tax evaded or seriousness of the offence as listed below.
|Amount of Tax evaded/ erroneous refund/ wrong ITC availed or utilized||Fine||Imprisonment|
|Exceeding ₹ 5 Crores||yes||Up to 5 years|
|₹ 2 Crores – ₹ 5 Crores||yes||Up to 3 years|
|₹ 1 Crores – ₹ 2 Crores||yes||Up to 1 year|
♠ If any person commits any offence specified in clause (f), (g) or (j) above, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.
♠ In case of repetitive offences without any specific/ special reason which is recorded in the judgment of the Court will entail an imprisonment term of not less than 6 months and which could extend to 5 years plus with a fine.
♠ All offences mentioned in this section are non-cognizable and bailable except the following cases-
a. Where the amount exceeds ` 5 Crores and
b. Instances covered by (a) to (d) in Para A.
(1) Where any person engaged in connection with the collection of statistics under section 151 or compilation or computerization thereof or if any officer of central tax having access to information specified under sub-section (1) of section 150, or if any person engaged in connection with the provision of service on the common portal or the agent of common portal, willfully discloses any information or the contents of any return furnished under this Act or rules made thereunder otherwise than in execution of his duties under the said sections or for the purposes of prosecution for an offence under this Act or under any other Act for the time being in force, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees, or with both.
(2) Any person—
(a) who is a Government servant shall not be prosecuted for any offence under this section except with the previous sanction of the Government;
(b) who is not a Government servant shall not be prosecuted for any offence under this section except with the previous sanction of the Commissioner.
Analysis- Since the officers of the department are dealing with sensitive information, the secrecy and security of such information is of utmost importance. The officers who are dealing with the statistical data or data collected from the information returns, he has to maintain utmost secrecy of the same.
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