Although only one per cent of the total 40 crore bank accounts is being suspiciously the Income-Tax department after going through data made available to it by banks, the I-T officers would be burdened with nearly 40 lakh cases requiring scrutiny. The enormous scope of the work and the possibility of honest taxpayers having to face difficulties raised concerns in chartered accountant community.
Sources in the I-T department has been quoted by ‘The Indian Express’ as saying that while there are nearly 8,000 officers who can undertake evaluation work, only 4,000 are available, with the rest on the different assignment, including in audit, administration, headquarters and systems. “Even these 4,000 are handling scrutiny evaluation for Income-Tax assessment year 2014-15,” an I-T official was quoted to have said by the paper.
With demonetisation deadline ends on December 30, the I-T officers are expected to complete their scrutiny assessment work a day later. The Centre has asked banks to provide a statement of financial transactions on deposits of over Rs 50,000 in Jan Dhan accounts, over Rs 2,50,000 in savings bank accounts and over Rs 12.5 lakh in current accounts to the Income Tax department before January 31.
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As per the I-T department, each year, it picks out around 3,20,000 cases for scrutiny. Therefore, each officer given the responsibility of assessments handles about 80 cases on an average. However, 40 lakh cases for scrutiny would mean 12.5 times the current workload for officers individually.
Chartered accountants are worried that the discretion element kicking in mainly since such a phenomenal increase in the department’s scope of work. “And all this is over and above the normal investigation work an I-T officer handles. The government does not have such a capacity,” said a leading CA told the paper in Mumbai.