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Puneites devaluing property,says I-T dept

The Department of Income Tax has issued notices to property owners in Pune for trying to evade tax by selling their properties at a value lower than the market price.

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
May 19, 2009 2:16:57 am

The Department of Income Tax has issued notices to property owners in Pune for trying to evade tax by selling their properties at a value lower than the market price. It is yet not clear how many notices have been issued to Pune residents,but officers said that 22,000 such notices have been issued across the state,excluding Mumbai.

“The maximum number of such transactions have happened in Pune and Thane,where people have conducted property transactions at a value below the guidelines,” said M Narsimhappa,chief commissioner of Income tax,Pune. These notices were issued in February and March by the department for property transactions that happened in 2006- 2009.

Narsimhapa was speaking to the media,after the inauguration of the Aaykar Seva Kendra or the Sevottam center — a pilot project initiated by the Income Tax department to set up a one-stop service centre for enquiries.

Narsimhappa said that it was still too early to estimate the revenue loss because of devalued property transactions,as the department was yet to determine if these 22,000 people had filed returns for the property sale. “We have received this information from the office of the Inspector General of Registrations,we are still in the process of getting additional details,” he said.

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Although Pune zone raked in Rs 12,899 crore,about 97 per cent of its target this year,it has slipped to the seventh position in countrywide revenue collections for 2008-09,from its sixth position the previous year. “We are trying to increase our Tax deducted at Source collections by first garnering information from business establishments,in a non-intrusive manner. We have sent questionnaires to 700 business establishments like BPOs,housing companies,auto sectors,education institutions,travel and tourism and many others. We will study the answers and study their businesses and then estimate the revenue we should get,” he said.

Meanwhile,the Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman S S N Moorthy said that the government was in the process of setting up a Central Processing Centre for income tax returns in Bangalore within a year. “Now processing of IT returns takes a long time,in a centralized center,the whole process would be over in a short time,” Moorthy said,also speaking to the media later. Although he did not give details Moorthy also said that the department was actively involved in brining back black money from abroad.

In his speech earlier,speaking about the ‘sevottam’ centre,Moorthy said this was a project that would endeavour to change the prevalent unflattering image of law enforcement officers among taxpayers. A similar enterprise had been started in Chandigarh,Udaipur and Bombay,which has not been entirely successful. “The achievement at these centres has not been as desired. Therefore,we are running a project in Pune to sort out the technical glitches. Once it is cleared,we can expand it on a national level,” he said. The I-T department is one of the seven departments selected to implement this project,which will be an endeavour to improve service for the people. The office of the prime minister will monitor these projects.

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