‘We intend to probe those who misuse tax exemption’ : Principal chief commissioner IT
The income tax department has decided to check misuse of tax exemptions and focus big time on those who have been misreporting income and claiming tax refunds fraudulently. The department is also trying to have more courts to clear pending cases related to tax evasion. It has also detected cases in Uttarakhand where government departments were misusing the provision to assess their tax liability.
PK Gupta, the principal chief commissioner of income tax (exemptions) was in Lucknow on Thursday to discuss all these issues.
What is being done to ensure tax liability is adequately assessed and to check misuse of tax exemptions?
A record Rs 43,000 crore tax was collected from UP this year. However, we estimate that the department would be exempting tax worth nearly Rs 1 lakh crore to about 20,000 societies and trusts in the state. So we are waiving off more tax liability than we are collecting. Nationally too it’s the same. Against the total around Rs 10 lakh crore collection, an estimated Rs 25 lakh crore or thereabout is exempted. That’s OK as long as the exemptions aren’t being misused.
Have tax collections from UP gone up?
Yes. We realised Rs 13,353 crore tax liability this year against the Rs 10,066 crore tax we realised from east UP in 2017-18. Similarly, against the Rs 23,653 crore tax in 2017-18 from west UP, the collections increased to Rs 29,099 crore in 2018-19. In percentage terms, the tax collections have gone up by 23% in east UP and by 25% in west UP. This is better than the national average.
How do you check misuse of the provision?
My post has been upgraded to principal chief commissioner. It symbolises government’s focus. We intend to probe all those who avail tax exemption and look closely at those who misuse it . We have already identified a few. In UP alone we have collected around Rs 900 crore from such entities who were wrongly benefitting from exemption.
There are many pending cases of tax liability. How do you reduce the load and expedite such cases?
It’s true that cases of tax evasion/concealment take time. In west UP alone 828 cases are pending. So we are trying to have more courts. In west UP we are trying for 4 new courts along with the existing five.
There is a perception that your department mostly targets private businessmen. What about government departments?
In Uttarakhand we came across two government departments who revised their payment details to reduce their tax liability. For example, a government department, on coming to know that it’s tax liability would be around Rs 2 lakh, fudged a figure by revising its payment on the system. This is a criminal offence and we have lodged FIRs.
Do you intend to check government departments in UP?
Certainly. We intend to carry out random surveys. If it proves that departments are fudging data, we will even seek the intervention of union finance minister Arun Jaitley and request him to write to all chief ministers on the issue.
Any success in crackdown on benaami property?
Excellent progress. The details are all there on our website.