Tax evaders should brace themselves for tough times as the department plans to intensify scrutiny of I-T returns. The aggressive mood of the taxman is evident by the fact that 294 warrants have been executed in the first month of the fiscal, a 170% jump over the same period of the previous year.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is planning set a target for field formations for carrying out scrutiny. Every assistant commissioner will be asked to scrutinise 20 cases in a year. This is the core function of the department that helps in realising higher revenues, hence the increased focus, a government source said. At present, only 2% of the returns are scrutinised and officials do not have fixed targets. Scrutiny is now attracting more attention as it helps the department unearth concealed income.
It may be noted the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance had asked the CBDT to intensify scrutiny. The tax department now uses details of transactions revealed in the annual information returns in carrying out scrutiny. The data on high-value purchases such as plasma TVs could also be used during scrutiny to match income and expenditure of individuals with their tax returns. Scrutiny procedures could be made more stringent to improve the quality. With the department facing acute shortage of manpower, concern has been expressed about the quality of scrutiny.
The scrutiny for the assessment year 2005-06 has to be completed by December 31, 2007. Similarly, there seems to be increased focus on searches and seizures. The aggressive mood of the department can be adjudged with the total amount of seizures in the first month of the fiscal at Rs 33.09 crore. This is against Rs 23.52-crore seizures in April 2006.