The Income Tax department plans to “immediately capture” on receipt the data of returns filed by taxpayers to enhance their investigation and enforcement action to curb tax evasion and reduce tax gap over the next few years. The department is also mooting developing a “criminal investigation” system within its establishment to combat terror financing, money laundering, offshore tax evasion and other illegal trades which impact national security.
“Income Tax department intends to use innovative methods to supplement its traditional enforcement tools in order to reduce the tax gap during the strategic plan period 2011-15. A conscious effort will be made to move towards non-intrusive targeted enforcement tools,” the ‘Vision 2020’ document of the department said.
The 30-page document, which charts out the course of action for the I-T department over next few years, was unveiled recently by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
To achieve this objective, the I-T department will “make internal data available almost on real time basis by capturing data from paper returns immediately after receipt,” the document said.
The department also aims at making internal data (of I-T) “robust and current” by including information gathered during enforcement action by the investigation wing and the assessing officers.
The I-T department, will also consider modification of Income Tax Return forms to capture relevant information to facilitate matching of external information, it added.
The department, which is currently probing a host of high-profile financial irregularities from and to overseas destinations, considers that the “next decade” will see an increased role (of I-T) in scrutinising” such transactions and fund flows.
“This will require the income tax department to deploy considerable resource and energy on criminal investigation. Effective criminal investigation will necessarily include a comprehensive international strategy to combat offshore tax evasion, and fund flows that threaten security of the country.”
The document, which will undergo a mid-term review in 2013, aims at taking forward the strategic planning of the department and its policies from 2011-2015 along with the new Direct Taxes Code (DTC) which is proposed to replace the current Income Tax Act from next fiscal.