Your city has lost income tax worth Rs 35,000 crore in the last five years.
This is because 11.4 crore “pieces of information” pertaining to unaccounted income collected by the Income Tax (I-T) department’s Central Information Branch (CIB) was not sent out to the field officials concerned for further action.
The CIB gathers information from various sources, including municipal corporations, regional transport offices, banks, hotels, travel agents, airlines, mutual funds and Reserve Bank of India, about high spenders and investors and uploads the same on its computer network system.
The information is then automatically segregated by the system and disseminated to the
I-T officers who do assessment work or to the investigation wing of the department.
But the computer system has been non-functional in this regard since 2005.
“It is true that for more than five years, the data of tax evasion material collected by the CIB wing was not allowed to be disseminated to the I-T officers concerned,” confirmed A.C. Tejpal, director of Income Tax (CIB), Mumbai, through a written communication to Hindustan Times.
Moreover, the officers are not trained well in handling the system, resulting in information not being disseminated to the officers. But Shishir Jha, spokesperson for the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the apex body of the I-T department, rubbished Tejpal’s claim.
“There is no such thing,” Jha said.
As per a letter, dated May 10, written by Tejpal to the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, since 2005-06, the CIB has collected over 11.4 crore pieces of information (on unaccounted income), but of these only 2,247 information were disseminated to the officials concerned.
The letter mentioned that this information was disseminated in 2006-07 manually (despite the ban on manually transferring information), by copying the same on compact disks. As per the order by the finance ministry in 2003, manual dissemination of information is banned after complaints that some officials, who get possession of sensitive information, would threaten assessees and demand money.
The letter was written in reply to query raised by the Audit and Accounts department regarding collection and dissemination of information by the CIB office. Based on these 2,247 pieces of information, the CIB found unaccounted income of Rs 14,758 crore on which tax totals to Rs 5,000 crore.
Another letter, dated August 31, 2009, written by Tejpal to the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Mumbai, said that “more than Rs 80,000 crore worth tax evasion material is locked up in the number of pieces of information which have not been disseminated.”
This figure was from 2005-06 to 2008-09. Senior I-T officials said on an average, the figure would have increased to Rs 1 lakh crore until 2009-10.
“On this amount (Rs 1 lakh crore), tax of around Rs 35,000 crore could be collected if the information was disseminated,” an I-T official said, requesting anonymity.
The CIB Mumbai has been trying to get the computer network system — handled by the Directorate of Systems of the I-T department in New Delhi — rectified since 2005 to no avail.