From 1st Feb, the Income Tax Department will be sending notices via e-mail and SMS to about 18 lakh people who have seemingly made suspicious amounts of deposits in their bank accounts during the demonetization period. The announcement comes in after the Income Tax Department launched ‘Operation Clean Money’ on Tuesday.
The scheme has made use of data analytics to compare the demonetization data with the information in the Income Tax Department’s database.
Currently, the Income Tax Department will only be seeking explanations regarding the source of funds. The suspected person must reply to the queries on the government’s e-filing website, but they need to respond within ten days to avoid any further action from the department.
The press release by the Ministry of Finance stated:
ITD has enabled online verification of these (suspicious) transactions to reduce compliance cost for the taxpayers while optimising its resources. The information in respect of these cases is being made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder (after log in) at the portal https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. The PAN holder can view the information using the link “Cash Transactions 2016” under “Compliance” section of the portal. The taxpayer will be able to submit online explanation without any need to visit Income Tax office.
Email and SMS will also be sent to the taxpayers for submitting an online response on the e-filing portal. Taxpayers who are not yet registered on the e-filing portal (at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in) should register by clicking on the ‘Register Yourself’ link. Registered taxpayers should verify and update their email address and mobile number on the e-filing portal to receive electronic communication.
Hasmukh Adhia, the revenue secretary, has stated that the purpose of online explanation is to make the whole process harassment free. He stated:
The idea is to use the demonetization data and look for instances of tax evasion without causing any harassment to the taxpayers. They can log on to the online filing portal and answer queries without having to interact with the tax department officials directly.”
Initially, only answers would be collected from the people regarding the mismatch in their income and the deposits made. If the response is found justified, no further action would be taken.
A helpline number 1800 4250 0025 has been released by the Income Tax Department if taxpayers need any assistance.
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