In a bid to clamp down on unaccounted money funnelled into bank accounts post demonetisation, the tax department has scrutinised and matched as many as 1-crore accounts and asked 18 lakh, people, to explain the source of fund. The tax department has run big data analytics through more than 1-crore accounts in its data bank and done matching with the taxpayer profile of the holder, a top source said.
As per I-T records, there are 3.65 crore individuals who filed income tax returns. Besides, there are over 7 lakh companies, 9.40 lakh Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and 9.18 lakh firms who filed ITRs during Assessment Year 2014-15.
Also, over 25 crore zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts were opened as part of the financial inclusion drive. Sources said I-T department is scrutinising all categories of accounts and will send out more SMS/emails for suspicious deposits under ‘Operation Clean Money’.
“We have initially matched 1-crore accounts with the profile in our database and identified 18 lakh people with suspicious deposits of over INR 5 lakh. We will expand the scope of data analytics further and match the profiles with our database,”.
In order to reduce harassment of taxpayers, the revenue department has mandated only officers in the rank of Assistant Commissioners and above to issue notices in case of unsatisfactory response received about bank deposits post demonetisation.
Under ‘Operation Clean Money’ launched by the Income Tax department on January 31, the department has sent SMS and emails to 18 lakh people who have made suspicious deposits of Rs 5 lakh and above between November 10 and December 30. “If the department is convinced with the reply of the assessee, the case will be closed and that will be communicated by SMS and email. But, in case of unsatisfactory reply, the decision to issue notice will be taken by Assistant Commissioner and Commissioner rank officers,” the source said.
The department has used data analytics for comparison of deposits made after the November 8 decision to scrap high-value banknotes with information in its database to identify taxpayers whose cash transactions do not appear to be in line with the tax-paying profile. It has also asked taxpayers to e-verify the deposits they made in their accounts post demonetization and respond to queries of any mismatch on the tax e-filing portal.
The source further said people who have received queries from the tax department about their deposits while replying in the e-filing website can also offer their remarks if it was their cash in hand. “If the cash in hand is as per the balance sheet, no questions will be asked and the case would be closed. We have put enough safeguard to ensure that there is no harassment to taxpayers,” the source added.