Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a press release in which CBDT said that tax deductors who deduct TDS but does not deposit the same into the Government Account within the stipulated time period are liable for prosecution under section 276B of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The defaulters if found guilty or convicted, may be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment (RI) for a term which can extend upto seven years. The offence u/s 276B of the Income Tax Act can be compounded by Chief Commissioner having jurisdiction on the case, either before or after the launching of prosecution proceedings.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has substantially modified existing guidelines stating that “the criterion of minimum retention period of 12 months has been dispensed with”.
For the benefit of public at large, it is now clarified that defaulters, who have retained the TDS deducted and failed to deposit the same in Government account within due date, shall be liable for prosecution, irrespective of the period of retention. Thus even a day of delay in deposition of TDS could result into rigorous imprisonment.