Production and inspection of books, documents and accounts.

29. (1) A taxing authority may, for the purposes of this Act, require any dealer to produce before him any book, document or account relating to his business and may inspect, examine and copy the same and make such enquiries from such dealer relating to his business, as may be necessary.

(2) Every registered dealer shall -

(a) maintain day to day accounts of his business;

(b) maintain a list of his account books, display it along with his registration certificate and furnish a copy of such list to the assessing authority;

(c) produce, if so required, account books of his business before the assessing authority for authentication in the prescribed manner;

(d) retain his account books at the place of his business, unless removed therefrom by an official for inspection, by any official agency or by auditor, or for any other reason which may be considered to be satisfactory by the assessing authority;

(e) preserve his account books for a period of eight years after the close of the year to which such books relate and where some proceedings under this Act are pending, till the completion of such proceedings.

(3) The provisions of sub-section (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis to every such dealer who is liable to furnish returns under sub-section (2) of section 14.

(4) If any officer referred to in sub-section (1) has reasonable grounds for believing that any dealer is trying to evade liability to tax or other dues under this Act, and that anything necessary for the purpose of an investigation into his liability may be found in any book, account, register or document, the officer may seize such book, account, register or document as may be necessary. The officer seizing the book, account, register or document shall forthwith grant a receipt for the same and shall,-

(a) in the case of a book, account, register or document which was being used at the time of seizing, within a period of thirty days from the date of seizure; and

(b) in any other case, within a period of one-hundred-eighty days from the date of seizure, return it to the dealer or the person from whose custody it was seized, after examination or after having such copies or extracts taken therefrom as may be considered necessary; provided the dealer or the aforesaid person gives a receipt in writing for the book, account, register or document returned to him. The officer may, before returning the book, account, register or document, affix its signatures and its official seal at one or more places thereon, and in such case the dealer or the aforesaid person will be required to mention in the receipt given by him the number of places where the signatures and seal of such officer have been affixed on each book, account, register or document:

Provided that the seized book, account, register or document may be retained for a longer period if so required: Provided further that if the seized book, account, register or document is retained by any taxing authority other than the Commissioner for more than the period specified in clause (a) or clause (b), as the case may be, the reasons for doing so shall be recorded in writing and the approval of the Commissioner shall be obtained by the said authority before the specified period or the extended period, as the case may be, expires: Provided further that any proceedings taken up as a result of examination of seized material shall be concluded before the expiry of one year from the date of the seizure except that the proceedings may, with written permission of the Commissioner, continue for one more year.

(5) For the purposes of sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) or sub-section (4), the officer, referred to in sub-section (1), assisted by such persons as he may consider necessary, may enter and search any office, shop, godown or any other place of business of the dealer or any building, dwelling house or place, or means of transport, goods carrier or vehicle where such officer, has reasons to believe that the dealer keeps, or is for the time being keeping, any book, account, register, document, goods or anything relating to his business: Provided that before entering and searching any premises the aforesaid officer shall record in writing the reasons for making such entry and search and shall obtain the sanction of the Commissioner or of such other officer not below the rank of Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner as the Commissioner may, for this purpose, authorise in writing:

Provided further that no entry for search in a dwelling house shall be made -

(i) after sunset and before sunrise;

(ii) by an officer below the rank of an Excise and Taxation Officer;

(iii) without obtaining the sanction of the Deputy Commissioner or Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) within whose jurisdiction such house is situated.

(6) The power conferred by sub-section (5), shall include the power,-

(i) where any person in or about such premises is reasonably suspected of concealing about his person anything for which search should be made, to search such person, and, if such person is a woman, the search shall be made by another woman, with strict regard to decency;

(ii) to open and search any box, till or receptacle in which any book, account, register, document, sale proceeds, goods or anything which is relevant to any proceeding under this Act may be contained;

(iii) to make a note or inventory of anything including cash and goods found as a result of such search;

(iv) to record the statement of a dealer or any person connected with his business including a bailee or a transporter, and such statement may, after giving the affected person a reasonable opportunity of being heard, be used for the purpose of determining his liability to tax;

(v) to take into possession and handover to other person for safe custody or to remove to safe custody any unclaimed goods after posting a notice, containing a brief narration of events resulting into such action with description, quantity and estimated value of the goods, requiring the owner of the goods to appear before it on a date and at a place specified therein with the proof of ownership  of the goods and their entry in the books of account maintained in the normal course of business, at a conspicuous part of the place or building from where the goods are taken into possession, and a copy of such notice shall also be served upon on the occupier of the place or building:

Provided that if no claim to the ownership of such goods is made before such officer within twenty days of such notice, the officer may sell the goods by public auction or otherwise dispose them of in the manner prescribed and deposit the sale proceeds, or the amount obtained by the disposal of the goods, in the State Government treasury:

Provided further that if the goods are of perishable nature or subject to speedy and natural decay or are such as may, if held, lose their value or when the expenses of keeping them in custody are likely to exceed their value, the officer may immediately sell such goods or otherwise dispose them of in the manner prescribed.

Explanation.– For the purpose of this clause “occupier” includes an owner, manager or any other person in occupation or having control of the  place or building.

(7) Where any officer referred to in sub-section (1) finds any taxable goods in any office, shop, godown or any other place of business or any building or place, or goods carrier or vehicle of, or which for the time being is under the control of, a dealer on whom the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 14 apply but not accounted for by him or the person incharge of the goods carrier or vehicle in his books, accounts, registers and other documents, the officer may, after giving such dealer a reasonable opportunity of being heard, impose on him a penalty computed by multiplying the value of the goods with three times the rate of tax applicable on sale of goods subject to a maximum of thirty percent of the value of the goods, and direct him to account for the goods in his books of account:

Provided that where the goods accounted for are underpriced, the penalty shall be computed by multiplying the difference between the market price and the price at which the goods have been accounted for with three times the rate of tax applicable on sale of goods.