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I-T to scan for cracks in returns
July, 26th 2007
Listed companies which have been scaling new highs thanks to the stock market boom may now need to be a little more careful about their income-tax payments. The income-tax department is planning to scrutinise tax returns of the NSE 500 and BSEs A group, comprising over 100 companies. This comes at a time when the stock market is booming and market cap of most blue-chip companies is at a new high.

Also, stock brokers whose brokerage income is more than Rs 1 crore will have to face scrutiny. Similarly, brokers who have claimed bad debts of Rs 10 lakh or more are set to come under the tax departments scanner. This is part of the action plan sent out to field formations for 2007-08 to increase tax collections.

The action plan says all corporate entities that have witnessed a fresh capital infusion of more than Rs 50 lakh could find the department looking more closely at their books. Besides, companies that claim tax benefits under Section 72A of Income-Tax Act also need to make sure they have paid taxes honestly.

The section allows companies that have undergone an amalgamation or merger to set off losses against profits and lower total tax liability. All non-banking financial companies or investment companies having a paid-up capital of more than Rs 10 crore are also set to come under the departments lens.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has prepared an elaborate action plan for the year and there is an increased focus on scrutiny. Scrutiny of income-tax returns helps the income-tax department unearth hidden incomes and raise more by way of tax.

There is an increased focus on scrutiny as it is the core function of the department. Field formations may be asked to increase scrutiny in line with the hiked target of 2.5% of total returns, a source said. At present, only 2% returns are selected for scrutiny.

It may also be noted the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance had asked the CBDT to intensify scrutiny as it helps in detecting tax evasion. The income-tax department now uses details of transactions revealed in the annual information returns in carrying out scrutiny.
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