Not just Goan churches, but across the Poona Diocese, information has been sought regarding the number of demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 held by them on the closing day of November 8. “We were shocked to receive the notice from the Income Tax Department not just at churches but also at schools run by the Poona Diocesan Education Society and Sisters’ Convents,” Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar-General, Diocese of Poona told The Indian Express.
The timing of such notices has come under much flak as the church gears up to celebrate Christmas. The notice, dated November 16 this year, was issued by Milind Chahure, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemptions) Circle, Pune, to the Poona Diocesan Corporation Private Limited. Authorities here received it on November 19 — a day after the deadline for submitting the information had lapsed.
The information was sought under 133 (6)of the IT Act, 1961 with a warning that failure to comply within time would attract penalty. In the backdrop of currency ban, the notice said that “it was aware of the pressure or temptation that there could be on trusts and societies to accommodate others.” Bank deposits will be part of in-depth scrutiny after December 30, the notice said. It further instructed the Corporation to submit the cash balance of all its institutions and churches from March 31 to November 8 this year.
“Many have received these notices after the deadline had lapsed. Our auditor has requested for time to provide details and while the Poona Diocesan Corporation Ltd has submitted the information, some convents could only give it today,” Sequeira said.