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THE TAX Department has reportedly detected deposits of Rs 3-4 lakh crore of unaccounted income in over 60 lakh bank accounts during the 50-day window following the government’s decision to scrap high-denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
The Income Tax Department has been asked to scrutinise the details of these deposits and send notices to the depositors for tax evasion, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report that quoted a government official. “The total amount deposited in these accounts is more than 7.34 lakh crore,” PTI said, quoting the official. The official added that over 6.80 lakh accounts out of the 60 lakh bank accounts have been matched with the existing database available with the government. The tax department has also found that Rs 25,000 crore cash was deposited in dormant bank accounts while nearly Rs 80,000 crore of loan-repayment was done in cash after the demonetisation decision of the government.
Cash deposits of over Rs 10,700 crore were made in different accounts in the northeastern states since November 10, the official said. The Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate are also looking into deposits of over Rs 16,000 crore in different accounts of cooperative banks, he added. “Starting from November 8, 2016, various reports were called for from the banks based on different threshold of cash deposits made by different categories of persons. The reports were collated and analysed based on intelligence which has been available in the government databases,” the official said.
After the analysis, these reports have been sent to Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate and other law enforcement agencies.
However, a senior Income Tax official told The Indian Express that the process of verification would be a long haul and could take two years. “People can declare, or not, cash deposits made in old notes since November 9 till September 2017, the deadline for filing audited returns. Then, notices will be issued by September 2018. Add another 15 months — reduced from 18 months since this April — which will take it to December 2019. That is the earliest one will be able to assess how much black money is recovered,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.
The government has also analysed the deposits in Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts in detail and amounts of cash deposited under different threshold in different regions of the country and shared it with I-T department. “All cash deposits of more than Rs 1 lakh in cash under PMJDY accounts would also be looked into, based on the intelligence inputs,” he said. Last month, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had said that the tax department will scrutinise data of deposits made in bank accounts after the closure of the 50-day window on December 30. Adhia, while assuring that the scrutiny of data will be “non-intrusive” so that there is no fear of ‘Inspector Raj’, had said that the tax department will take help of professional agencies for the data analysis.
Information relating to deposits of more than Rs 13,000 crore in Regional Rural Banks along with details on cash deposits in extremist-affected states have been provided to the tax department and other law enforcement agencies, the official said. The official further said that cash deposits of Rs 2-Rs 2.5 lakh per account, totalling to Rs 42,000 crore, which have been found to have common PAN, mobile number or address, would be looked into in detail by the tax department.
Following the currency withdrawal decision, tax authorities have been scrutinising high-value bank deposits to keep a check on unaccounted money and possible money laundering. Although the reporting guidelines for banks were for savings account deposits of over Rs 2.5 lakh made in scrapped currency, deposits below this threshold are also being scrutinised if they are from unexplained sources or through splitting of transactions within a group or family.
“The Income Tax department has undertaken numerous actions, both intrusive and non-intrusive, based on the intelligence and in turn referred a number of cases for parallel investigation by the ED and CBI. The actions have unearthed non-filers, huge amounts of unaccounted income and shell companies,” the official said, without giving details. The tax department is undertaking detailed data analysis to have a more effective and focused intrusive and non-intrusive actions in the coming days. “It is already taking actions in cases where cash deposits above Rs 50,000 have been made without quoting of PAN,” he said, adding that these actions will help in expansion of the tax base and a “quantum jump” in direct tax collection.
Last week, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that both direct and indirect tax collections will exceed the Budget estimate of Rs 16.3 lakh crore at the end of this financial year.