With real estate deals being struck at record high prices, the income tax department is considering new ways to check evasion and black money.
The departments investigation wing is setting up an internal group to suggest out of the box ideas for gathering information on high-value transactions, which includes real estate.
A similar group was set up last year. The department conducted country-wide searches on modular kitchens, plasma televisions, designer watches and pens. The exercise this year will focus on areas like real estate, which continue to involve big use of black money, a finance ministry official said.
Officials said there was a need to create a real estate database to keep track of transactions. In the recent annual meeting of chief commissioners of income tax, it had been agreed that all cases where the provisions of Section 50C are applicable should be selected for scrutiny.
Section 50C of the Income Tax Act states that in cases in which the value of a transferred capital asset either land or building is less than the value adopted by the stamp valuation authority for payment of stamp duty, then the tax to be paid on such property would be calculated on the basis of the value determined by the stamp valuation authority.
Officials, however, pointed out that the provision was difficult to enforce as the registrars of property are under no legal requirement to report such sales barring sale and purchase of property of Rs 30 lakh and above which is now captured through the annual information returns.
There is also no means for the department to obtain data on the property sold through power of attorney where registration does not take place.
The income tax department had last year unearthed large scale misuse of Section 80IB (10) of the Income Tax Act by developers and builders of housing projects. The section allows 100 per cent deduction to builders on profits and gains for developing and building housing projects.
The misuse of the provisions was on account of builders declaring a single flat as two separate ones in order to remain within restrictions. In other cases, the commercial area was found to have exceeded the 5 per cent built-up area.