In a bid to meet ambitious tax target amid economic slowdown, the finance ministry on Friday held a review meeting with tax officials and directed them to make special efforts to identify and book-tax evaders through data analytics and information sharing. The meeting chaired by revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey deliberated on sharing information between GST and income tax departments about all such taxpayers who have taken high input tax credit (ITC) but the information does not match with their personal income tax return submitted to I-T department, sources said. Also, the GST information would be made available to income tax departments to identify the cases of suppression of personal income or tax evasion by showing lower GST turnover or taking refund from GST fraudulently.
The officials were told to get into a campaign mode to recover past arrears, sources said. In furtherance of its concerted efforts to augment tax collection in the coming four months, the department of revenue conducted this meeting with senior income tax officials including all its principal chief commissioners and chief commissioners to strategise and achieve direct tax collection target of Rs 13.5 lakh crore despite recently announced corporate tax relief of Rs 1.45 lakh crore by the government. Directions were given to the taxmen to put forward special efforts to identify and book tax evaders through data analytics and information sharing and also share findings with GST officials to initiate stern actions against wilful tax evaders or those using fake invoices or inflated or fake e-way bills, source said. However, officials were asked to ensure that the genuine taxpayers shall not be troubled but none of the tax evaders should go scot free. Officials were also told to communicate with taxpayers that they must genuinely file their taxes before the taxman/notice of the tax department reaches them, sources said.
It may be noted that the government is taking all possible careful measures to curb tax evasion and leakages in its anti-evasion drive. Earlier this week, the GST council in its 38th meeting decided to lower the limit of ITC outgo from 20 percent to 10 percent before invoices are loaded. To genuine taxpayers who have mistakenly missed out some information in their tax return, tax authorities have provided them an opportunity to submit their revised returns as well, sources said. It may be recalled that earlier this week, the finance ministry put its GST tax collection targets to Rs 4.45 lakh crore for the remaining period of this financial year with targeting of Rs 1.1 lakh crore per month with Rs 1.25 lakh crore for a single month.