To recover maximum tax arrears with the optimum use of manpower, the income-tax department has decided to look into the credit history and loan repayment pattern of taxpayers and prioritise cases for recovery of past dues based on a defaulter’s ability to pay.
For this, the department would consult the Credit Information Bureau of India (Cibil) that assigns credit scores and maintains details of loans taken by individuals, partnerships and corporations, along with their PAN. Sources said tax officials would be able to get an idea of the assets and the financial health of an assessee against which a tax arrears recovery demand has to be pursued vigourously.
The I-T department which claims a massive Rs 6.74 lakh crore in arrears to be recovered is able to pursue cases accounting for only a small part of it every year due to appeals pending in various courts, inadequate assets to recover from defaulters and due to non-traceability of assessees. For FY15, it has set a target of recovering about Rs 42,000 crore of arrears, about 6% of the R7.4 lakh crore the government wants to collect this year by way of corporation tax, personal income tax and wealth tax, 15% more than what it raised last fiscal.
However, I-T will vigourously pursue recovery of arrears from defaulting partnerships and large corporations even via attaching the assets of partners and directors. In the case of individual taxpayers who have expired, it intends to reach out to their legal heirs, said a field officer, who asked not to be named.
The tax authority wants to cut down the quantum of arrears to be recovered and would consider writing off smaller demands.