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  1. Budget 2017: ‘Data entry errors’ led to rise in cases with Rs 1 crore-plus farm income

Budget 2017: ‘Data entry errors’ led to rise in cases with Rs 1 crore-plus farm income

The reason behind a exponential surge reported by tax assessing officers in the number of cases with Rs 1 crore-plus agricultural income over the last nine years has been traced to ‘data entry errors’.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: January 27, 2017 1:13 PM
The reason behind a exponential surge reported by tax assessing officers in the number of cases with Rs 1 crore-plus agricultural income over the last nine years has been traced to ‘data entry errors’. The reason behind a exponential surge reported by tax assessing officers in the number of cases with Rs 1 crore-plus agricultural income over the last nine years has been traced to ‘data entry errors’.

With less than 10 days to go for Union Budget 2017, a significant news has emerged. The reason behind a exponential surge reported by tax assessing officers in the number of cases with Rs 1 crore-plus agricultural income over the last nine years has been traced to ‘data entry errors’. Due to this, farmer’s incomes were extrapolated over 300 times the actual. This was detected after 2,517 cases from a list of 2,746, involving agricultural income above Rs 1 crore reported in Income Tax returns for the period spanning assessment years 2007-08 and 2015-16, were subjected to verification by field authorities, according to The Indian Express report.

Earlier, a Parliamentary panel had voiced concerns over the rise in the number of cases with Rs 1 crore plus as farm income post demonetisation and said the government must be vigilant to ensure that black money is not converted into white under the garb of agriculture income. The Standing Committee on Finance report said it was alarming that ‘data entry error’ has been noted as foremost reasons behind the significant and ever growing cases of one crore plus agricultural income, as reported by the assessing officers. It reflects poorly upon the functioning of the Department of Revenue that such data entry errors occur involving huge amounts of income, the panel said.

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Of these, it was found that in 838 cases where verification was completed by late 2016, the corrected agriculture income, after verification and confirmation by assessing officers, actually totalled Rs 1,395 crore as against an agriculture income of Rs 4,31,617 crore entered by assessing officers or taxpayers in I-T returns. Another 324 cases showed data entry errors in agriculture income or misclassification of income.

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The centre earlier had stated that it has no plans to bring farm income under the tax ambit. It had also asked the Income Tax department to verify the genuineness of income over Rs 1 crore for assessment years from 2007-08 to 2005-16.

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“The Income Tax Department is verifying the genuineness of agricultural income in cases where taxpayers have reported agricultural income of more than Rs 1 crore in their income tax returns for assessment years 2007-08 to 2015-16 to check whether the tax-payer has made a genuine declaration or there are any data errors,” Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar had said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. He was replying to a question whether the government is gathering data on agricultural income through spot verification.

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