File photo of a cash seizure by Income Tax department (Source: PTI)

Prosecutions Initiated By Taxman See Sharp Rise This Year

India’s income tax department has initiated prosecution against 2,225 cases during April to November 2017. That’s a 184 percent increase as compared to the same period last year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes said in a statement.

“Prosecutions have been initiated for various offences including willful attempt to evade tax or payment of any tax, willful failure in filing returns of income, false statement in verification and failure to deposit the tax deducted/collected at source or inordinate delay in doing so, among other defaults,” the statement added.

This is an indirect reassurance to honest taxpayers, Jayesh Sanghvi, direct tax partner at EY India told BloombergQuint. “This trend indicates increased attention to enforcement, which is a key deterrent to delinquent behaviour,” Sanghvi told BloombergQuint.

About 1,052 complaints were ‘compounded’ by the income tax department in that period compared to 575 last year. Compounding of offences is done when the defaulter admits an offence and pays a penalty as per stipulated conditions in the law.

“Compounding of offences done judiciously also alleviates the stress on judiciary and brings the matter to closure, allowing the taxpayer to be more responsible in his future conduct,” said Sanghvi.

Forty eight individuals were convicted during the same period as compared to 13 last year.

Some of the cases shared by the taxman include:

1. A Dehradun Court convicted one defaulter for holding undisclosed foreign bank account, and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment for willful attempt to evade tax. He was also sentenced for two more years for false statement in verification along with monetary penalty for both defaults.

2. A head of an infrastructure company in Bengaluru was found guilty for not depositing of Tax Deductible at Source, or TDS of over Rs. 60 lakh. He was sentenced to three-month imprisonment along with imposition of a fine.

3. Another director of an infrastructure company based in Hyderabad, was sentenced for six-month imprisonment of six months, and a fine for willful attempt to evade tax. The individual was also sentenced for six months more, along with a fine, for false verification statement.

4. The Economic Offences Court at Ernakulam, sentenced an individual for imprisonment of three months for selling property to evade payment of taxes of about Rs 76 lakh, despite issuance of the tax recovery certificate by the tax officer.