Filing income tax returns: Here’s how to avoid being labelled a tax evader

The income-tax department on Wednesday warned salaried-class taxpayers against using illegal means while filing their returns, stating that violators would be prosecuted

Income tax department asks 10 PSU firms to pay more tax

Filing income-tax returns (ITRs)? Take note: Those who furnish incorrect information while filing ITRs will be reported to their employers and punished under the law, the Income Tax Department on Wednesday warned salaried-class taxpayers. The I-T department’s Central Processing Centre (CPC), which receives and processes ITRs, in Bengaluru, has issued a “cautionary advisory” warning taxpayers that they should not “fall prey” to tax advisors or planners who help them prepare wrong claims to get tax benefits.

The I-T department’s warning comes after its investigation wing in January unearthed a racket by employees of information technology companies based out of Bengaluru who werre allegedly helped by a tax advisor to get fraudulent tax refunds. Do you think this is a small matter? Think again. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently registered a criminal case to probe this nexus.

The latest ITR-1 form, largely used by the salaried class of taxpayers, has been activated on the official e-filing portal of the income-tax department.

Here are the top 10 things that you need to know before filing your income-tax returns:

1) Don’t give wrong info in your ITRs: The Income Tax Department on Wednesday warned salaried-class taxpayers against using illegal means while filing their returns, stating that violators will be prosecuted and their employers will be intimated to take action against them.

2) No under-reporting of income or inflated claims: What ‘illegal means’ is the I-T department referring to? The warning refers to under-reporting of income or “inflating” of deductions.

Calling it a “cautionary advisory” on reports of tax evasion by under-reporting of income or inflating deductions or exemptions by salaried taxpayers, the I-T department said such attempts “aided and abetted by unscrupulous intermediaries have been noted with concern”.

3) Wrong claims to be seen as tax evasion: What action will the I-T department take if it detects such wrong information in your ITR? The taxman has warned that wrong claims will be treated as cases of tax evasion. Such offences are punishable under various penal and prosecution provisions of the Income Tax Act, it said.

The one-page advisory added that if the department notices any fraudulent claims in the ITRs, such claims “may be punishable under provisions of the IT Act and this may also delay issuance of their refunds”.

“Taxpayers, are, therefore strictly advised not to fall prey to false promises or mis-advice by unscrupulous intermediaries and submit wrong claims in their ITRs, which would be treated as cases of tax evasion,” said the advisory.

4) This advisory applies to government employees as well: In case government or public sector undertaking employees make wrong claims and are caught, the I-T department will inform the vigilance division of their place of employment. Subsequently. the vigilance division will take action under conduct rules.

5) Extensive risk analysis system to catch wrongdoers: How will the taxman catch you if you file wrong information in your ITR? The advisory added that the I-T department possesses an “extensive risk analysis system”. This is an automated system that has no human interface. It identifies persons who are non-compliant and aim to subvert the trust based-system “envisioned” while processing of ITRs at the CPC. “In all such cases of high risk, the department may examine and verify the details submitted by taxpayers in their ITR subsequent to the processing of returns,” it said.

6) Tax advisors and planners can be punished, too: The I-T department also asked tax planners and advisors to “confine their advice to taxpayers within the four corners of the IT Act” and warned that the violators will be prosecuted and such instances will also be referred to enforcement agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for criminal prosecution.

7) ITR-1 forms available now: The latest ITR-1 form that is largely used by the salaried-class of taxpayers is now available on the official e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department. The single ITR form, notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on April 5, has been put on its website, https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, on Monday.

Click here to read → Filing Income tax returns

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I-T raids on houses, offices of Sasikala and Dhinakaran across 160 places

Offices of Namadhu MGR, Jaya TV and Jazz Cinemas, residence of Sasikala’s husband Natarajan also raided

I-T raids on Jaya TV Office

Income-tax officials have been raiding homes and companies belonging to the jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader VK Sasikala and her relatives, including TTV Dhinakaran. Both Sasikala and Dhinakaran are rivals to the ruling AIADMK faction. (IT raids on Dinakaran)

The raid started at 6 am this morning across 160 places in Tamil Nadu, besides Bengaluru, Puducherry and Delhi. These places included former Jayalalithaa’s house at Poes Garden, Dhinakran’s house at Adyar and residence of other leaders, their relatives and party functionaries, in addition to the offices of Jaya TV as well as Jaya TV’s top official and management houses . Among the companies being raided are the AIADMK mouthpiece Namadhu MGR, Jaya TV and Jazz Cinemas.

Dhinakaran’s faction alleged that this is a personal revenge against him. They also alleged that ruling faction is trying to take control of Jaya TV and Namadhe MGR.

The residence of Sasikala’s husband Natarajan in Thanjavur was also raided.(Today’s Paper)

At the offices of Namadhu MGR and Jaya TV, very few staff members were present when the I-T officials raided. I-T officials also visited the residence of Dhinakaran in Adyar.

Black money chase: Hawala, real estate, election funds Modi’s next targets?

Here are details of yet-to-be-public 1000-page report on which the govt may have based its crackdown

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Even as the government has launched a high-profile drive against black money, a 1,000-page study on unaccounted incomes in India has not been made public for a year now. Produced by the think-tank National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) at the instance of the UPA government of 2012, the report was submitted to the present government in 2016.

A detailed study on unaccounted incomes in India has outlined a multi-pronged strategy that the government should adopt to curb generation of black money by professionals, educational institutions, capital market intermediaries and real estate players.

In addition, the voluminous report running into over a thousand pages makes concrete suggestions to plug legal loopholes to prevent generation of black money through election funding, money laundering and clandestine transfer of wealth abroad. Equally significant, the report lays down a road map for beefing up the income-tax department to tackle the menace of black money.

The report has been produced by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) at the instance of the government, which had issued an order in 2012 entrusting the fiscal policy think tank with this task. The report, which has been reviewed by Business Standard, was submitted to the government only a year ago, but its findings are yet to be made public, even as the present government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a high-profile drive against black money.

It is also significant to note that some of the recommendations made by the NIPFP report seem to have already been implemented by the government in the last year or so, though after some modifications. What the fate of the other recommendations to eliminate black money is likely to be, however, is not clear as of now. Therefore, a quick look at some of the salient recommendations made by this report could provide a clue to the likely course and direction of government action against black money in the coming few months. | READMORE…

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