The Income-Tax department has taken up a little over 1.5-lakh income-tax returns this year for scrutiny, the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Replying to supplementaries during question hour, Mr Chidambaram said that 1,51,876 cases have been picked up for scrutiny through a computer assisted scrutiny system (CASS).
Official sources said that these returns pertained to assessment year 2005-06. Meanwhile, Mr Chidambaram said that the selection of cases for scrutiny arebased on strict guidelines and with adequate safeguards to ensure that there are no cases of improper issue of notices for scrutiny.
He said that these guidelines minimise discretion-based selection of cases for scrutiny. Mr Chidambaram highlighted that less than 2 per cent cases of all returns of income furnished every year are selected for scrutiny, which is a statutory process.
CASS is employed for selection of cases on the basis of information received through returns of income as well as institutionalised processes such as AIR.
The Finance Minister said that regular monitoring isdone to ensure proper selection. The lists of the cases so picked up are displayed publicly in the income-tax offices so as to ensure transparency, he said.
Mr Chidambaram also said that special grievance cells in CBDT and the field offices have been created to assist assesses in the resolution of their grievances.
To a question on whether the Government plans to exclude medical profession from service tax, the Finance Minister said that service tax is not levied on services provided by medical personnel in their professional capacity.
He, however, said that the States have the power to levy profession tax on medical profession. "As per information available, such tax is being levied by only 20 States. The total collection is estimated at about Rs 2,400 crore during 2004-05. The rates of tax vary from State to State within the overall ceiling of Rs 2,500 per person per annum," he said.