The Income Tax Department’s newly set-up Centralised Verification Centre (CenVC) is planning to send the first set of e-tax notices to ‘non-filers’, starting this week. There are a total of about 11 lakh cases under scanner where I-T returns have not been filed. The notices will be issued under section 133C of the Income-Tax Act, which was notified last week.
“The first set of notices are being sent to the non-filers who have made a financial transaction but haven’t filed their tax returns. A large number of these cases are from the demonetisation period. If we don’t get any response, the cases would be referred to the assessing officer for scrutiny,” said I-T department sources. “Right now, the vetting is going on to eliminate the cases in which some kind of response has come. About 70,000 people had also filed income tax returns,” sources added.
The CenVC has been tasked with the verification of all the income returns filed by the taxpayers in the country. As many as 6.44 crore taxpayers have filed their income tax returns so far during this year.
If you haven’t shown bank deposits, mutual fund investments or property transactions in your income tax return, you could soon be getting a tax notice to pay up.
“Our estimation is that there would be around 50-60 lakh returns which may come up for verification,” the official said. The cases would be red flagged by the system for verification on the basis of 200-odd parameters.
The returns filed during the Assessment Year 2017-18 (or financial year 2016-17) are being dealt with first. All the returns filed by the taxpayers during that year will be verified by the CVC. “We now have the capacity to verify 100% returns. Earlier, there was no way of doing it. So, most potential cases were out of the tax net. Only a minuscule percentage (0.5%) of the total returns filed were being picked up every year for scrutiny through a random selection process,” a senior official said.
The CenVC will send e-mail notices with a set of structured questions. The assessee will be given 10 days to respond. The entire process will be faceless without any human interaction taking place between the taxman and the assessee. The questionnaire, as well as the response of the taxpayer, will be in a machine-readable format.
“If the reply is not found to be satisfactory, the second set of questions will follow. The assessee will be given another chance to respond before the case is referred to the assessing officer for scrutiny,” another official said, adding that the cases would be closed if the taxpayer’s response is found to be satisfactory.
So far, 3.17 lakh cases have been referred for scrutiny during this year. More cases would be referred for scrutiny now with the setting up of the new verification centre.
The CenVC will rummage through all the financial data available in its database and match it with the returns filed by the taxpayers. The information from various sources such as Registrar of Companies, banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions is already there with the department.
- As many as 6.44 crore taxpayers have filed their income tax returns so far during this year
- There would be around 50-60 lakh returns which may come up for verification
- So far, 3.17 lakh cases have been referred for scrutiny during this year