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High-fliers , I-Ts looking for you
September, 30th 2006
Those with a penchant for the high life and extravagant habits better watch their step as the government has asked the income tax department to build comprehensive profiles of individuals whose lavish spending seldom matches their known sources of income. Profiles are being constructed around thousands of individuals and companies whose financial details are now with the I-T department and records of their meteoric rise and flamboyance paint a suspicious picture. The building of what the I-T department calls 360 degree profiles is the result of sleuths analysing Annual Information Reports (AIRs) and other financial data received from several institutions, banks, registrar of societies and intelligence agencies. Phone bills, network of friends and business associates, hotel expenses, travel details including charges paid, credit card expenses, club memberships, use of swanky cars, association and ownership of companies and their business activities all have been recorded around individuals and companies to give an absolute picture. This makes for a 360 degree profile on an individual or a company which will ultimately be shared with different organs of the government and financial institutions to deal with them in future, a senior official of the Central Board of Direct Taxes said. Sources said Central Information Bureau (CIB) of the Income Tax department is the nodal agency that collates all AIRs and data received from a number of sources after which they are analysed and transmitted online to assessing officers. This is the first year when assessing officers have been armed with classified data from CIB on the basis of which they are supposed to match declarations made in the I-T returns of individuals and companies. There are more than 15 CIB offices across the country, situated in all major state capitals where local level intelligence and data received are analysed and fed into the system to further assist an assessing officer. Information related to banking cash transactions and credit card expenses are centralised in Delhi. Profiles are being built irrespective of the stature or social standing of a person. Politicians, bureaucrats, suspected defence agents, top executives, businessmen with spectacular growth in their business fortunes and people who lead a flashy lifestyle with no known sources of earning have all been included in the list. Sources said the department would penalise hotels, travel agencies and other commercial establishments and financial institutions which have furnished unverified PAN numbers or have not furnished any PAN details in highvalue transactions. The penalty may lead to the organisation being banned if it fails to comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines. Under Scanner Phone bills, network of friends & business associates, hotel expenses, travel details, credit card expenses, club memberships, cars, business activities are being checked 360 degree profiles are being built irrespective of the stature or social standing of a person.
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