The decision to clear all refunds would cost Rs 20,000 crore extra to the direct tax kitty in the current financial year.
Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Sudhir Chandra, in his first interview after getting a two-month extension, told Business Standard, Income tax department does not want undue enrichment. We could have collected Rs 4.66 lakh crore in 2010-11, but we decided to clear all refunds and now the direct tax collections are expected to be about Rs 4.46 lakh crore this year.
Chandra added the refund payments in entire 2009-2010 amounted to Rs 58,000 crore, whereas, it had already crossed Rs 67,000 crore this year.
He pointed out, There has been a problem in getting refunds across the board. I have now told officials throughout the country to clear all refunds by March 31. Those who will not get their refunds by March 31 due to some reason, will get it by April second week.
Chandra further stressed that in the coming months, the department would strive to make the laws taxpayer-friendly. The CBDT chairman said to achieve better results, taxpayers were also required to support the department.
Unless we trust taxpayers, we will never get their compliance. We have taken several steps in this direction and plan to implement more such measures. From April 2011, we will try to process all e-filed returns within one month and issue refunds.
He said more and more people should now file e-returns to get better services from the department. Chandra added that protecting common man from harassment was also on the top of the departments agenda. Exempting small taxpayers from filing returns and senior citizens from scrutiny are the steps in this direction. There will be no scrutiny unless the department has some very credible information, he said.
On the steps for unearthing black money in India and held abroad, Chandra said the myth that big names would be spared was now gone. The searches on big businesses prove this point. We have conducted big searches in the last few months, where we have recovered more than Rs 500 crore in a number of cases.
He, however, added that bringing in black money stashed abroad was a difficult task. They are all sovereign countries. It cant be done forcibly. We can think of a Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, but a conducive atmosphere needs to prevail first, said Chandra.