At the Minto Road branch of the income tax department, there was little activity to justify the extended working hours on Friday — the last day for submitting declarations of undisclosed income and assets under the government’s black money scheme. It was even more forlorn at the Ayakar Sampark Kendra at the ITO — the central revenue headquarter of the IT department in the heart of the national capital.
Despite the taxmen deciding to keep offices open till midnight to cater to even the most indecisive declarant — the window was open for a full four months — the corridors largely bore a deserted look. Except for a bunch of businessmen who had decided to cash in on the late evening opportunity.
The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 window was open since June 1, 2016 and offered an opportunity to persons who have not paid full taxes in the past to come forward and declare their undisclosed income and assets.
At the Minto Road branch, segregation of counters was made according to business owners, private salaried employees, and government salaried employees. The first section saw a number of people turning up to make disclosures — some were even spotted with boxes of sweets walking into the building block. On the other hand, the latter two counters witnessed tepid footfalls.
Among the smattering of people at the non-business counter was a retired government employee, who walked in late Friday evening to file details about an undisclosed property, but was left unattended for a while due to absence of any income tax department Commissioner at the building. According to junior level representatives present at the department office, the food sent from the department headquarters wasn’t enough for the number of employees present there to work through the midnight shift. The officials had, therefore, stepped out of the building to make dinner arrangements when the elderly retired government employee turned up.
“Unlike in the 1997 VDIS (Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme), there is the option of online declaration this time and most people are opting for that instead of physical declaration,” said a commissioner of income tax at the ITO office.
There were no queues seen at the central revenue headquarter, but few people were seen waiting outside principal commissioners’ rooms with documents around 8 PM. Since no other office work were being done after 6PM, officials said most people waiting in the late evening are possibly declarants.
Some taxpayers were making enquiries on how to file declaration online while others were checking on how to value the assets such as properties.
Including the Minto road and ITO offices, the IDS declarations were being accepted at 24 principal commissioners offices located mainly in these two locations in Delhi.
The ITO Ayakar Sampark Kendra was completely empty around 6.30 PM. The tax department had placed large posters displaying names, phone and room numbers of all the 24 principal commissioners that were accepting IDS declarations in Delhi.
In order to facilitate the declarants who would like to file the declaration in paper form, the CBDT has issued instructions to all Principal Chief Commissioners of Income Tax across India to ensure that arrangements were made for receiving such declarations till midnight of September 30.
Accordingly, the counters for receiving declarations under the Income Declaration Scheme were functional till 12:00 midnight on September 30.
Some employees at the Income Tax Department also questioned the idea to keep the counters functional till midnight instead of simply extending the scheme for a few more days.