Kathmandu, September 9
The Federal Parliament has endorsed the Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act on Sunday, which states that if any government official and private sector individual is found to be colluding to evade taxes, then they are liable to face jail terms.
As per the new act, if civil servants and businesspeople are found to be collaborating to evade taxes, then the civil servant will be suspended till the case is settled by the concerned court and could also face a minimum jail term of six months to a maximum of five years, depending on the volume of the revenue leakage.
The act further states if any government official is booked by the Department of Revenue Investigation for a probe into revenue leakage, then the concerned official will be automatically suspended until the issue is resolved.
Similarly, the defrauder will also have to pay a fine that is 100 per cent to 200 per cent of the misappropriated amount.
The act has a provision whereby if the revenue leakage is below Rs five million, the guilty will be imprisoned for six months. For revenue leakage of above Rs five million to Rs 10 million, the jail term has been fixed at six months to one year. Similarly, for revenue leakage between Rs 10 million and Rs 30 million, the offender will face a jail term of one to three years. If the guilty is found to be involved in revenue leakage of over Rs 30 million, then they will be imprisoned for three years to five years.
Meanwhile, the act also states that if the revenue leakage occurred due to a genuine mistake, and the amount is worth up to Rs five million, then the guilty could receive half the jail term and will have to pay only half the fine. For amounts beyond Rs five million, the guilty will have to face a jail term and pay the maximum fine that has been mandated by the act.
Before the act was amended, any offender involved in revenue leakage had to face a jail term of only up to three years and pay a fine that was 200 per cent of the misappropriated amount.
“The previous laws to control revenue leakages were not effective enough and some government officials and businesspeople were largely ignoring the laws and continued evading taxes. So, we have amended the act as per the present scenario,” said Krishna Prasad Dahal, chairman of Finance Committee under the Federal Parliament.
Dahal further said that the business community has also agreed to the provisions of the amended act. “They agreed to the amended act as it also has provisions to punish guilty government officials.”
A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.