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Non-payment of Service Tax Could Land you in Prison

Finance minister P Chidambaram has inserted at least half-a-dozen provisions in the Finance Bill to make certain offences related to customs and excise duty non-bailable, while providing for arrest for violation of service tax, raising fresh concerns over powers being vested with revenue authorities. For instance, for offences related to service tax evasion especially non-payment of collected service tax a commissioner rank officer can order arrest. If an airline or restaurant collects service tax but doesn't deposit it with the tax department, the service provider can be arrested. Similarly, there are at least four cases where the government has proposed to make offences non-bailable under section 135 of the Customs Act.

Times of India, New Delhi, 04-03-2013



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