Cases of tax evasion, undisclosed transactions, concealing of income or suspicious transactions may face tougher action and prosecution by tax authorities in the next financial year as the cash-strapped government turns up the heat on offenders. Indications are that terms that invite imprisonment may get tougher.
Finance minister P Chidambaram in his forthcoming budget is likely to introduce stringent penal measures to curb instances of tax theft and transactions involving the proceeds of a crime and black money generation.
“Violation of tax laws won’t be tolerated now and as the government has been facing a widening fiscal deficit. Stern warnings have already been issued to tax evaders and more stringent penal actions are expected in the next fiscal,” a finance ministry source said.
Already, in terms of prosecution under existing provisions, the revenue department has instructed tax officials to go tougher with defaulters in the areas of income tax, service tax, excise and customs.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs has identified importers and exporters indulging in under-invoicing or over-invoicing or misusing exemptions and a large number of service providers not filing tax returns as part of efforts to zero in on tax offenders.
The budget announcement is likely to have stronger provisions to act against those involved in transactions involving drug trafficking, illegal imports or terror-related activities.
An online data bank on black money and tax evasion, which is already on cards, will act as a database for intelligence sleuths and help in monitoring of suspicious transaction reports for taking further action.