Income Tax: Operation Clean Money launched
A new scheme by the name of Operation Clean Money has been launched by the Income Tax Department, whose first stage would involve an online based verification of large bundles of cash deposits that have been made by private individuals or businesses of the country during the demonetisation period ranging from 9th November 2016 to 30th December 2016. For the first time, ever, data analytics has been used by the Government so that officials can successfully compare data related to demonetisation with the already existing databases of the Income Tax Department (ITD). In the first stage of profiling, around 18 lakh persons have been identified in whose cases the reported cash transactions offer a significant mismatch with the taxpayer’s profile.
Features: Emphasis on online verification
ITD has started a scheme of e-based online verification of these transactions so that the compliance costs of taxpayers can be significantly reduced while ensuring that resource utilisation is at its optimum best. In these cases, the information gathered is scheduled to be made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder (after a preliminary login/signup) at the Department’s given portal. The PAN holder can access the information under the given portal by using the link “Cash Transactions 2016” under the “Compliance” section of the portal. The said taxpayer, if needed, can also exercise the option of submitting an appropriate explanation behind the mismatch through an online submission, rather than having to visit an Income Tax office.
Features: Taxpayer-Friendly Measures
There have also been provisions made for the taxpayers to be able to submit responses online on the e-filing portal either through a correctly channelled email or a duly delivered SMS. Taxpayers who have not registered themselves on the e-filing portal can also register themselves by clicking on a link provided in the said portal that would read “Register Yourself”. Taxpayers registered on the rolls of the income tax registry can also exercise the option of using an e-mail validation method to review their personal information regarding contact IDs, phone numbers etc., so as to enable them to receive the relevant information regarding their data from the Department.
The portal also makes available an entire database detailing quick user reference guides so that the taxpayer can be duly assisted while submitting the said online response. A help line desk at 1800 4250 0025 can also be contacted by the tax payer in case he/she experiences any kind of technical difficulties or likewise while submitting this e-based online proforma relating to his/her tax disclosures.
Details: Processing of Information
Per a Government directive, data analytics, as an evaluation tool, would only be used for specific cases of verification where the determination would have been done prior to this process, taking into account certain approved risk criteria. In case a account is selected for verification, there would be a further request for some sort of additional information, whose response would be filed and collated electronically. The information that would be registered on the online portal would have a provision of getting dynamically updated when there is any new information or response from the taxpayer, by virtue of data analytics.
The taxpayer’s response would then be thoroughly examined and matches against existing records and information. If there are cases where the explanation of the surplus cash is found to be justified, the verification process would be stalled right then and there without any sort of obligation on the said taxpayer for a visit to the Income Tax Office. In case, the said disputed cash collections are deposited under the scheme of Pradhan MantriGarib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), even then the inquiry would be stopped then and there without any sort of obligations on the taxpayer.
The taxpayers who would be getting covered in this stage of the process also do have an obligation to submit their response on their portal within 10 days, so as to avoid any notice from the Income Tax Department, under the Income Tax Act or other such applicable laws.