On the trail of tax evaders in the wake of demonetisation, income-tax authorities have identified 1 lakh “high-risk entities” against whom they plan to take strict enforcement action.
On Tuesday, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) announced the second phase of the government’s Operation Clean Money, saying options including verification, search, survey and scrutiny would be explored to ensure that these entities pay their dues.
Additionally, the CBDT has identified 3.71 lakh new accounts of 1.58 lakh taxpayers who made partial declaration of accounts or amounts in their earlier responses.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the impact of the November 8 decision last year to demonetise high-denomination currency notes had enhanced digitisation, increased tax collection and the number of assessees and also instilled the fear of dealing in cash.
“As many as 91 lakh additional returns were filed in 2016-17. This will increase further,” he said, adding that voluntary compliance had increased because the anonymity of cash had ended.
Following demonetisation, the number of online income-tax returns filed has also increased by 22 per cent to 5.28 crore.
Gross tax collections also jumped 16.9 per cent — an additional ?1.46 lakh crore. Similarly, the allotment of Permanent Account Numbers also increased multi-fold.
In January, the CBDT had launched the first phase of Operation Clean Money, with the Board identifying 17.92 lakh people whose accounts saw suspicious cash deposits during demonetisation. It had then sent online verification queries to these people.
“Over 9.72 lakh taxpayers submitted their response electronically by May 12. These taxpayers have provided response for 13.33 lakh accounts involving cash deposits of around ?2.89 lakh crore,” the CBDT said in a statement. No further action will be taken in cases where a satisfactory explanation had been proffered, it added.
“We engaged two data analytics companies who examined the profile of identified taxpayers and determined their risk,” said CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra, at the launch of the department’s new portal, Operation Clean Money. The CBDT plans to use the new portal for a targeted campaign, including emails and text messages for the medium-risk entities.