In a relief to the taxpayers, the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Sushil Chandra has confirmed that the Income Tax department is taking up a fewer Income Tax Returns for the scrutiny.
In 2017-18, the tax department picked up for scrutiny only 0.35% of all tax returns, compared with 0.8-1% in the previous years, the CBDT Chief said.
The lower percentage of scrutiny means the department is looking at more non-intrusive ways to check tax evasion. “Of the 0.35% cases picked up, around 0.15% were picked up for limited scrutiny. Only 0.2% of cases were picked up for full scrutiny,” Chandra said at a conference organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
“This shows the faith the tax department has in taxpayers. But it doesn’t mean that tax evaders can go scot-free,” Chandra said, adding that technology will be used to mine data to identify tax evaders. Further, the enforcement unit is also strengthened to curb tax evasion.
The government had filed 4,700 prosecution cases in 2017-18, as against 1,200 the previous year and 500 in the year before that, Chandra said.
The taxpayer base has also expanded. The government received 68.6 million income tax returns in 2017-18, against 54.3 million in 2016-17. This number is expected to substantially increase this year as the implementation of goods and services tax helps improve compliance on the direct tax side due to the greater formalization of the economy.