Taxmen have been keeping busy these days, especially since the government announced its demonetisation move on November 8.
Income tax officials have been looking to crack down on illegal ways of using the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and have increased the number of searches conducted in the last 12 days.
The department usually conducts 30-35 searches and surveys in a month, but the last 12 days alone have seen 90 such operations. “Our main focus has been to block attempts to legalise black money since Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were demonetised on November 8,” said a top source in the tax department.
Real estate, manufacturing, trading and educational institutions have emerged as the focus areas for the department, sources said.
“We are also keeping a close watch on bank deposits. Any deposit that is does not match the person’s income will attract tax, penalty and interest and could also lead to imprisonment,” said the source quoted above.
The government has said that all bank deposits of over Rs 2.5 lakh were being watched, and any mismatch could attract heavy penalty.
“It is not only after demonetisation, the tax department has stepped up its efforts to crack down on black money since the last two years,” said an official in the finance ministry, who did not wish to be named.
Data accessed by HT show that there has been a 120% increase in black money recovered by taxmen so far in 2016, compared to the same period last year.
In the seven months between April and October, the department has unearthed undisclosed income worth R7,700 crore. “This is the black money that we have recovered and where people have owned up,” said the finance ministry source quoted above.
In the past two years, the government has announced two disclosure schemes, one for foreign assets and the other on undisclosed income. Both were one-time windows, and the last was the Income Disclosure Scheme that ended in September 2016.