Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Feb 25, 2005
Excise and Customs
Industry & Economy - Excise and Customs
Scrutiny of self-assessed excise returns likely from April 1
New Delhi , Feb. 24
COME April 1 and self-assessed excise returns may come under the scrutiny of the revenue department. The coverage of selective audit under the Cenvat credit rules, now confined to manufacturers, may be expanded to include dealers.
The Finance Ministry intends to amend the Central excise rules to empower the revenue department to undertake scrutiny of self-assessed excise returns.
The revenue department has invited comments from trade and industry on the proposed amendments.
Other proposed amendments include furnishing of financial records to a Central excise officer and introduction of special provisions to check defaults in monthly excise payments
These initiatives come at a time when the Finance Ministry is faced with a possibility of missing the excise duty collection target for the current fiscal. Such proposals are seen as efforts to prevent possible leakage of excise revenues.
Growth in excise collections during the current fiscal has been lower than anticipated. Against the Budget target of Rs 1,09,199 crore for 2004-05, the excise duty collections during April-December 2004 stood at Rs 68,425.86 crore.
The move to scrutinise self-assessed returns will enable the Central Board of Excise and Customs to prescribe systematic checks for scrutiny of returns, an official release said. Currently, the facility of self-assessment is available for all commodities except cigarettes.
Besides possible scrutiny of self-assessed returns, the Finance Ministry also intends to extend the coverage of selective audit under the Cenvat credit rules to dealers (both first stage and second stage dealers). Currently, only manufacturers are covered under selective audits.
Under the Cenvat credit scheme, manufacturers can avail themselves of credit, on the basis of documents that are self-certified. Checks are prescribed through selective audit. The audit currently covers manufacturers.
The official release said a substantial amount of Cenvat credit is routed through first stage and second stage dealers. "Since there are no structured checks with regard to their transactions, it is proposed that, on the lines of the Central excise assesses, the dealers should furnish a list of all the records with regard to receipt, purchase, storage, sales or delivery of the goods (inputs/ capital goods) to the Central Excise Officer, which may be subjected to selective audit," the release said.
Amendments are also being proposed to the Central excise rules to insert specific provision to make all financial records, including trial balances or its equivalent, available to the Central excise officer.
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