The CBDT is mulling expanding the scope of its policy of “naming and shaming” of tax defaulters by sharing such data with banks and credit-rating agencies. The Board, which decides policy matters for the Income Tax Department, has ordered creation of a special committee to analyse the subject and review the existing mechanism and also suggest the future road map so that such delinquents, whose arrears or defaults run into multiple crores are identified, and prosecuted under tax laws. As per the agenda given to the seven-member committee, headed by a principal director general-rank officer and constituted on May 25, it has to “review whether the policy of ‘naming and shaming’ in respect of confirmed defaulters of arrear has served its intended purpose and whether there is a need to expand its scope” in the Income Tax Department.
The terms of reference for the committee, accessed by PTI, added that expanding the scope of the ‘name and shame’ exercise means a possible “sharing of defaulters data with banks, financial institutions, credit rating and risk rating agencies” like the Credit Information Bureau Limited (CIBIL) and others by the taxman. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had taken up the exercise of ‘naming and shaming’ of income tax defaulters about two years ago, as part of which it publishes their names and details like the defaulted amount, last known address and Permanent Account Number (PAN) in leading newspapers.
A total of 106 such entities, with a minimum default of over Rs 1 crore, from across the country have been put in the public domain by the tax department till now, including on its official website. The committee, as per its agenda, has been constituted with an overall task to “recommend measures to ensure expeditious recovery of arrears of taxes”. The CBDT has also tasked the committee to “study the broad categories under which arrears of taxes are classified and suggest class-specific measures for expeditious collection or otherwise liquidation of such demands”.
The committee will also “study the age profile of the outstanding taxes and make policy-level recommendations for dealing with demand which is older than a certain number of years”. In order to reduce litigation and undue delay in the recovery of such taxes, in many cases they being termed coercive as the assessee has gone untraceable, the committee has been asked to identify the I-T regions which are “more prone to raising demands which remain uncollected for long periods”.
It has also been tasked to suggest measures that prevent “creation of infructuous demands by such regions (I-T department ranges in the country) and expeditious collection and reduction of pending arrears in such ranges.” The committee will also suggest to the board, after analysing big arrear cases, whether “additional parameters of monitoring are required to be prescribed by the Board (CBDT) to ensure that larger recoveries are made in such cases in shorter time frame.”
The terms of reference for the committee also state that it can make recommendations on “any other issue relating to collections and management of arrears of demand”. The committee has been asked to submit its report to the CBDT by July 15.