I-T Dept’s Query on Large Cash De­posits Gets 60,000 Re­sponses

Up to 18 lakh peo­ple asked to pro­vide info about source of cash de­posited af­ter note ban but no no­tices sent out yet

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Deepshikha.Sikar­war @times­group.com

New Delhi: Over 2 lakh peo­ple logged on to the web­site of the in­come tax depart­ment, which has sought clar­i­fi­ca­tions from18 lakh peo­ple who de­posited large sums of cash af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion.

As many as 60,000 have re­sponded and some have even agreed to pay tax, said Sushil Chan­dra, chair­man of the Cen­tral Board of Di­rect Taxes, clar­i­fy­ing that no no­tice has been sent to any­one as yet.

“It’s a re­quest for e-ver­i­fi­ca­tion of their ac­counts and an ex­pla­na­tion,” said Chan­dra.

The depart­ment ex­pects to hear from most of the peo­ple who have been sent the re­quests by March 31, fail­ing which for­mal no­tices un­der the in­come tax law will be sent to them. “The depart­ment will have to is­sue no­tices and make as­sess­ments,” said Chan­dra. More re­quests for in­for­ma­tion are likely to go out soon as deeper data min­ing starts, he said.

RE­QUEST FOR IN­FOR­MA­TION

The 18 lakh peo­ple have merely been asked to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion in a non-in­tru­sive man­ner. The depart­ment has put out de­tails about the de­pos­i­tor such as the bank ac­count and the amount de­posited and wants an ex­pla­na­tion about the source of the cash.

Struc­tured re­sponse op­tions have been framed so that peo­ple can clar­ify whether the de­posit was from an ear­lier with­drawal from a bank ac­count or part of ex­empted in­come. They can state if the ac­count holder is an agri­cul­tur­al­ist or if the money was a gift from some­one who pro­vided a PAN.

If no ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pla­na­tion is sug­gested, re­sponses can be made in the ‘oth­ers’ op­tion. If the depart­ment is not sat­is­fied with the an­swers, it may pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plain.

Re­spon­dents will also have a chance to avail of the Prad­han Mantri Garib Kalyan Yo­jana (PMGKY) be­fore March 31.

NON-IN­TRU­SIVE PROCESS

Chan­dra said the depart­ment has be­come more tax­payer-friendly over the years, ex­plain­ing why it opted for this method even though one pur­pose of de­mon­eti­sa­tion was to un­earth black money.

“We did not want to cre­ate a panic,” he said, adding that hon­est tax­pay­ers should not be trou­bled. “There was a time when ev­ery peo­ple log on to I-T dept web­site af­ter re­quest sent in ex­pected to un­earth more names have re­sponded so far, some have also agreed to pay tax

Dept yet to look at de­posits be­low

case was be­ing scru­ti­nised. Now we scru­ti­nise less than 1%. Now even if I want a case, I don’t have the power. No one has the dis­cre­tion to pick a case for scru­tiny,” he said, ex­plain­ing the changes.

Chan­dra said there is no tar­get for PMGKY and gen­uine tax­pay­ers have no rea­son to worry.

“No tar­gets have been fixed. No ha­rass­ment. No fish­ing en­quiry. But tax eva­sion should be caught. Gen­uine per­son should not feel any fear, but tax evaders should,” he said.

Only if the ex­pla­na­tion is not sat­is­fac­tory and a per­son does not opt for PMGKY will the depart­ment is­sue no­tices and as­sess the de­pos­i­tors for tax. has put out de­tails about de­pos­i­tors’ bank a/c, amount de­posited The in­come tax depart­ment is hir­ing out­side agen­cies to carry out more ad­vanced min­ing of the data col­lected. The govern­ment scrapped ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 notes on Novem­ber 9 and asked for all the in­val­i­dated notes to be de­posited by the end of De­cem­ber 2016.

“We are short­list­ing cer­tain agen­cies for spe­cialised data min­ing. Pre­lim­i­nary data min­ing has been done,” said Chan­dra.

The 18 lakh peo­ple asked to sub­mit in­for­ma­tion based on the pre­lim­i­nary data anal­y­sis are those who de­posited more than ₹ 5 lakh cash af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion, a sum that is con­sid­ered in­con­sis­tent with their pro­file with the inco- me tax depart­ment. “Like if you have not filed a re­turn and de­posited ₹ 5 lakh, so the depart­ment found it sus­pi­cious. Or if you have filed a re­turn of ₹ 2.5 lakh and de­posited ₹ 10 lakh,” said Chan­dra. The list in­cludes those who have not filed tax re­turns and have de­posited large amounts. The more ad­vanced data min­ing is ex­pected to un­earth more names. As of now, the depart­ment has not looked at de­posits be­low ₹ 3 lakh. Ex­pla­na­tions will be sought re­gard­ing sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions re­ports (STRs) and from peo­ple who have opened new ac­counts, said Chan­dra.

The data min­ing will also look for trails of cash be­ing split across mul­ti­ple ac­counts or de­posited in the names of var­i­ous fam­ily mem­bers.

“We will be us­ing ad­vanced data min­ing tools. See from which one num­ber, tele­phone, same ad­dress,” said Chan­dra, adding that there is a large amount of data to work with. The depart­ment will also look at de­posits into credit card ac­counts and other loans.

“We’ve asked from banks wher­ever more than ₹ 2 lakh has been de­posited dur­ing this par­tic­u­lar pe­riod and bankers are re­port­ing to us. If any­thing has been mis­used, it would come to our no­tice. Some Jan Dhan ac­counts have been con­verted into reg­u­lar ones,” he said.

Depart­ment ex­pects to hear from most of the peo­ple who have been sent the re­quests by March 31

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