Report No. 29
7. The Wealth-Tax Act, 1957 (27 Of 1957)
Section 17.-Wealth, escaping assessment: If the Wealth Tax Officer-
(a) has reason to believe that by reason of the omission or failure on the part of the assessee to make a return of his net wealth under section 14 for any assessment year or to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for his assessment for that year, the net wealth chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for that year, whether by reason of underassessment or assessment at too low a rate or otherwise; or
(b) has, in consequence of any information in his possession, reason to believe, notwithstanding that there has been no such omission or failure as is referred to in clause (a), that net wealth chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for that year, whether by reason of under-assessment or assessment at too low a rate or otherwise he may, in cases falling under clause (a) at any time within eight years and in cases falling under clause (b) at any time within four years of the end of that assessment year, serve on the assessee a notice containing all or any of the requirements which may be included in a notice under sub-section (2) of section 14, and may proceed to assess or reassess such net wealth, and the provisions of this Act shall, so far as may be, apply as if the notice had issued under that sub-section.
Section 18.-Penalty for concealment:
(1) If the Wealth-tax Officer, Appellate Assistant Commissioner, Commissioner or Appellate Tribunal in the course of any proceedings under this Act is satisfied that any person-
(a) has without reasonable cause failed to furnish the return of his net wealth which he is required to furnish under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 14 or section 17 or has without reasonable cause failed to furnish it within the time allowed and in the manner required; or
(b) has without reasonable cause failed to comply with a notice under sub-section (2) or sub-section (4) of section 16; or
(c) has concealed the particulars of his assets or deliberately furnished inaccurate particulars of his assets or debts,
he or it may, by order in writing direct that such person shall pay by way of penalty
(i) in the case referred to in clause (a), in addition to the amount of wealth-tax payable by him, a sum not exceeding one-and-a-half times the amount of such tax, and
(ii) in the case referred to in clause (4)) or clause (c) in addition to the amount of wealth-tax payable by him, a sum not exceeding one-and-a-half times the amount of the tax, if any, which would have been avoided if the net wealth returned by such person had been accepted as correct.
(2) No order shall be made under sub-section (1) unless the person concerned has been given reasonable opportunity of being heard.
(3) No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted in respect of the same facts in relation to which a penalty has been imposed under this section.
(4) The Wealth-tax Officer shall not impose any penalty under this section without the previous approval of the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner of Wealth-tax.
(1) If a person fails without reasonable cause-
(a) to furnish in due time any return mentioned in section 14;
(b) to produce, or cause to be produced, on or before the date mentioned in any notice under sub-section (2) or sub-section (4) of section 16 such accounts, records and documents as are referred to in the notice;
(c) to furnish within the time specified any statement or information which such person is bound to furnish to the Wealth-tax Officer under section 38;
he shall, on conviction before a magistrate, be punishable with fine which may extend to ten rupees for every day during which the default continues.
(2) If a person makes a statement in a verification mentioned in section 14 or section 23 or section 24 or section 26 which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false, or does not believe to be true, he shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(3) A person shall not be proceeded against for an offence under this section except at the instance of the Commissioner.
(4) The Commissioner may either before or after the institution of proceedings compound any such offence.
Explanation.-For the purposes of this section, "Magistrate" means a Presidency Magistrate, a Magistrate of the first class or a Magistrate of the second class specially empowered by the Central Government to try offences under this Act.