The government’s continuing crackdown on black money will now see tax officials sift through details of property ownership to ascertain cases of tax evasion and benami transactions.
According to Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra, the Income Tax department will comb through the tax history of all people who have registered property valued above Rs 30 lakh to check if any tax evaders own such properties by proxy.
Mismatches between asset ownership and reported income enable the department to identify cases of tax evasion. In benami ownership, the beneficial owner of the asset will be different from its legal owner.
The exercise follows the enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act on November 1 last year. Since then, tax department has attached 621 properties, including some bank accounts, and the total amount involved in these cases is about Rs1,800 crore, the CBDT chairman said.
The tax department is also investigating the shell companies that were recently struck off the registry and their directors as part of the drive against black money generation, the official said.
“We will destroy all instruments that are used to launder unaccounted wealth. This also includes shell companies,” Chandra told reporters after inaugurating the Income Tax department pavilion at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) which began at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Tuesday.
Chandra said the tax authority has already done a lot of work on tracking down benami assets.
Increased surveillance by the government and a crackdown on black money has led to a three-fold increase in PAN (permanent account number) registrations, an 18 per cent rise in income tax returns as well as a significant increase in the number of properties seized by the tax department this year.
(With PTI inputs)