Asking taxmen to go beyond the one-by-six (1/6) scheme, to improve their intelligence gathering and to shun their reluctance to search houses and premises of tax evaders, the FM said, one thing which I will hate to see happen this year is a shortfall in direct tax collection.
Mr Sinha was inaugurating the annual an all-India conference of chief commissioners and director-generals of income tax here on Wednesday. The two-day meet will firm up an action plan to achieve the ambitious direct tax mop-up target for this fiscal. Direct tax collection had witnessed a shortfall of over Rs 5,000 crore from even the revised estimates two years in a row.
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A senior revenue official told FE that in the current fiscal, 60 per cent of the income of exporters and other foreign exchange earners is liable to be taxed.
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Mentioning a media report (FE of March 27) based on a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) indictment based on a reality check of private hospitals and nursing homes (where CAG found that more than 80 per cent were not in the tax net), he said income tax officials could look at Yellow Pages to look for areas in the tax bracket. They can find out who has bank lockers. There are other pieces of information they can look at.
Further, Mr Sinha asked the taxmen not to hesitate to undertake search operations at peoples houses and offices where there is valid information of tax evasion. Substantial evasion is taking place still now. There is a need for an efficient intelligence system. Wherever there is a valid information for carrying out searches, dont hesitate to do so, he said, asking the department to endeavour to bring more people under the tax net. The FM also asked the department to speed up the process of allotting permanent account numbers.
On the computerisation drive at CBDT, Mr Sinha regretted that only 60 per cent of the staff have been trained till so far. The possibility of outsourcing some of the infotech services should also be considered, he said.
The government, Mr Sinha informed, is eager to amend any legislations which are coming in the way of increasing revenue, pointing out that the initiatives for increasing the share of direct taxes in the total tax collection is crucial as customs collection cant be raised beyond a certain limit on account of the governments commitment to bring down import tariffs.