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Income tax revenue reduces as number of high earners falls
June, 22nd 2015

Seeking to send a stern message to chronic evaders, the Income Tax department plans to take stringent action against them to ensure that they are prosecuted.

This follows a strategy evolved at a recently-concluded national conference of I-T brass here where it was decided to go after the evaders with full vigour.

The CBDT had then floated a strategy paper saying taxman should instill the fear of "incarceration, loss of liberty and social opprobrium" in tax evaders and prosecute them in large numbers to create a credible deterrence against the menace of black money.

Figures show the I-T department conducted over 1,000 searches and surveys during the last financial year even as they slapped close to 100 prosecution complaints against chronic tax evaders during this period.

"There are a variety of chronic tax evaders like who under report their income every year or who after being slapped with tax demand notice go underground or change address to avoid paying the money or those who do aggressive fudging in their accounts to hide their source of income," a senior official said.

CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur has said as part of the government's initiative to crack down on black money instances, the department has changed its strategy from just getting unpaid tax and penalty from evaders to going the extra mile of taking them to the courts.

"We try to ensure that our tax regime remains non- intrusive....but there are certain people or cases against whom intrusive action is required. Because not everybody is willingly compliant. We have the powers of search and seizure under the Income Tax Act...we all know that there is large tax evasion happening in certain cases and we have to use that power of search and seizure (to clamp down against such instances).

"We just don't want to get penalty and unpaid tax from the evader. We don't want to do that. Because, for us, tax evasion is not only a menace in that sense, it is also spoiling the entire compliance culture (in the country) because the people who are tax compliant feel that the system is unfair," Kapur told the media during the week.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes is the apex policy making body of the I-T department.

The CBDT boss added they were concerned that by witnessing such a system where an evader is let off with light punishment, compliant taxpayers would "waver" from their duty saying why should they pay taxes when others can skip it?

Kapur added that "demonstrative action" by the taxman is required against evaders.

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