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550 biggies on Rs 25 lakh cr tax defaulters' list
June, 14th 2010

The Income Tax department has circulated dossiers of at least 550 high net worth individuals and entities who have wilfully defaulted or have unpaid tax of Rs 25 crore and above to field officers for recovery as tax arrears have doubled in the last two years to a worrisome Rs 2.5 lakh crore, almost 66% of the total direct tax collection of 2009-10.

The dossiers include information on recently acquired properties of these entities, their bank transactions and details of investments made by them in shares and mutual funds. Joint director and additional commissioner rank officers who have been armed with these dossiers have been asked to supervise the cases and, if necessary, initiate attachment proceedings, sources said.

Till March 31, the total arrears were Rs 2.30 lakh crore and with the start of the new fiscal, another Rs 20,000 crore has been added to this figure. Last year, the department had managed to recover nearly Rs 12,000 crore. The target for this year has been fixed at Rs 14,000 crore.

I-T officers have been armed with an important tool, the Individual Transaction Statement (ITS) of the assesses which enables field authorities to view their current assets and an access to information like assessee's recent investment in mutual funds, shares and other expenditure made available through annual information report from banks.

Considered an effective strategy for collection of arrears, the ITS empowers officers with relevant information regarding movable and immovable assets of the assesses. The modes used by assessing officers are to identify the current assets and take necessary action for attachment and recovery for the same.

In 2009, I-T's directorate of recovery had analysed the dossiers having outstanding demands of above Rs 25 crore. Out of total of 551 such dossiers, only 258 cases were found to be having wholly actionable demands, that is demand not covered by any write-off proposal, BIFR proceedings, settlement commission proceedings, etc.

Further analysis of these 258 cases showed that 227 of them were concentrated in nine major cities. Each of these cases was listed and the demands pertaining to each of them was detailed. The zone-wise lists of such cases were handed over to respective zonal members for their information and supervision of recovery.

A list was also handed over to each chief commissioner of I-T at the time of annual general conference held in the capital last year in August. A senior officer said in-depth monitoring was done in each of these cases. The supervisory authorities were asked to call for records and latest balance sheets with a view to detect current assets from which recoveries could be made from a defaulter.

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