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Large deposits totalling Rs 7 lakh-crore under scrutiny

The tax department is armed with systems to track those with multiple banks accounts

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Demoentisation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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Armed with information about Rs 7 lakh crore deposits made by some 60 lakh individuals and companies, the government today warned of hauling up anyone unable to show legal means saying mere depositing in bank does not convert black money into white.

Top officials said while the government will not hound any genuine depositor, it will not hesitate to litigate at any forum to catch any black money holder trying to convert illegal wealth into white.

Post demonetisation, unaccounted wealth holders have an option to avail of a tax evasion amnesty scheme Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and pay their dues, failing which the government's long arms will surely catch them, they said.

"People are thinking that money has come into the banking system and it has all become white. This is not so. We have been getting daily information of all the deposits above Rs 2 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and the number and amount deposited and we have been collating this information with past information about the same person," a top government official told PTI.

"So, there is a huge scope for taxing now which has arisen and we do hope that people will understand that simply because they have put in bank it has become white that is not the case. We do hope that people themselves will come forward to participate in the scheme. But if they don't, they are not going to be happy," the official further said.

The tax department is armed with systems to track those with multiple banks accounts as well as those who are depositing in accounts of others and tax department will not leave anyone who is trying to evade taxes, he added.

"Even if you take deposits of more than Rs 2 lakh, we have information about more then 60 lakh individuals, companies and institutions who have deposited more than Rs 7 lakh crore of money. That's an astonishing number. We will be looking at it. For individuals the deposit figure would be Rs 3-4 lakh crore.

"We do expect a lot of revenue buoyancy because of this either in this year or in subsequent years but nobody will go scot-free," the official said.

Following the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes on November 8, government has come out with PMGKY under which people can disclose unaccounted cash and come clean by paying 50 per cent tax. Besides the scheme provides for a mandatory deposit of 25 per cent of such income in the zero-interest bearing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016, for four years.

PMGKY commenced on December 17 and shall remain open for declarations and deposits up to March 31, 2017.

The official said that tax department is doing data analytics. The purpose of demonetisation was to bring the money into the banking system so that there is a money trail with regard to the anonymous cash holding.

"We don't want to send any inspector to people but at least we would like people to know that we know about them. Now this is a big change. Earlier, people used to keep a lot of black money and think that nobody knows about it. Now, the entire black money has come into the banking system," he said.

The official said that at least 70 per cent of bank accounts have PAN numbers and are linked with Aadhar, and hence all deposits can be easily tracked. Besides, RBI has already asked banks within two months all accounts have to be linked with PAN or else there will be restrictions.

"It is better to disclose the deposits under the PMGKY and pay the tax rather than keep it hidden as the tax department will eventually be able to track them," the official said.

The PMGKY scheme provides an opportunity to persons having undisclosed income in the form of cash or deposit in an account maintained with a specified entity (which includes banks and post office) to declare such income and pay tax, surcharge and penalty totaling in all to 49.9 per cent of such declared income.

Besides, the scheme provides that a mandatory deposit of not less than 25 per cent of such income shall be made in the zero-interest bearing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016, for four years.

"When there is a scheme of 50 per cent tax payment available, no one should keep money at home. Unless it is a case of corrupt officer he doesn't disclose. Business people will put money in bank and relax," the official added.

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First Published: Fri, December 30 2016. 00:52 IST
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