Soon you will have to submit a copy of your income tax return (ITR) every year to the LPG dealer to claim subsidy on cooking gas cylinders.
With the voluntary GiveItUp scheme not making much progress, the Petroleum Ministry has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to include the ministry as a recipient of ITRs under the Income Tax Act so that it could weed out those with annual income above Rs 10 lakh from the subsidy scheme.
“The information related to taxable income of LPG consumers is critical to implement the decision to exclude consumers belonging to higher income group from availing subsidy, and this information on taxable income of LPG consumers is required every year,” the ministry wrote to the CBDT last week.
“Considering the above, it is requested that the Ministry may be notified under Section 138 of the Income Tax Act to obtain information related to taxable income of LPG consumers in the public interest,” it added.
The IT Act forbids the income tax department from sharing income details of an assessee unless the Central government specifies an officer, authority or body to receive the data to perform his or its functions under a law.
Currently, authorities implementing the Foreign Exchange Management Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the National Food Security Act are among the few that have this permission.
Last December, the NDA government had announced that taxpayers with an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh will not get subsidised LPG cylinders and that the scheme was to be implemented under “self-declaration basis” while booking cylinders from January 2016 onwards.
A government official said that nearly 70 lakh people had given up the subsidy under GiveItUp scheme since it was launched in March 2015, but a majority of them included consumers who had shifted to piped natural gas or are officials of state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs).
“There are very few with income exceeding Rs 10 lakh who have provided affidavits and surrendered their LPG subsidy,” he said. “And the current available mechanism does not provide for collecting ITR from consumers to ascertain their taxable income.”
In a separate letter to marketing heads of the three OMCs, the ministry has modified its December 2015 order saying that those who are excluded from LPG subsidy in one year could be included the next year provided they furnish ITR showing that their annual income had fallen below Rs 10 lakh.
“Similarly, a consumer, otherwise receiving subsidy, will become ineligible to claim subsidy as and when taxable income of self or spouse is more than Rs 10 lakh in the subsequent financial year,” it wrote to director (marketing) of Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.