The income tax department said it has picked up only high tax evasion cases for scrutiny, which account for around 0.35 per cent of the 6.86 crore returns filed for Assessment Year 2017-18.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra said that the department has faith on the income taxpayers, but will not allow evaders to scot-free.
“We have increased the tax base and have full faith on taxpayers. Last year, we got 6.86 crore returns and I have picked up only 0.35 per cent cases for scrutiny. This means that 99.65 per cent of the returns filed can be at peace,” Chandra said at an Assocham event.
He said out of this 0.35 per cent cases picked up for scrutiny, 0.15 per cent are for ‘limited scrutiny’ and 0.20 per cent are for ‘full scrutiny’.
“This shows that in only high tax evasion cases, we will go for scrutiny,” Chandra said.
A scrutiny procedure in the income tax system pertains to a case where a taxpayer is required to provide a number of documents to the assessing officer (AO) after his or her case is picked up for a threadbare examination after study of their tax returns.
Scrutiny of I-T returns has been an issue of grievance for many assessees. Earlier about 1 per cent of the income tax returns filed were picked up for scrutiny. This has now been brought down to 0.35 per cent.
Chandra said less number of cases being picked up for scrutiny means that the tax department has full faith on people. “We are also making our enforcement unit stronger so that if there is a case of tax evasion, that will be dealt with severely”.
The tax authorities have filed 4,700 cases for the prosecution last year on the basis of data with the department, he added.
“You can send your money to any tax haven or any country but we have also got system of automatic exchange of information with many countries. Nobody is going to escape, we have information. People (tax evaders) think that boundaries are too far off, but the economic boundaries of different countries are very close to each other,” Chandra said.
The department will further simplify tax filing norms to help India improve its ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index, the chairman said.
“Compliance will have to be better. Enforcement will have to stronger. Based on the data with us, we are taking enforcement action to instill some fear in the mind of tax evaders,” Chandra added.