Mumbai based lawyers, doctors and film professionals are under Income-Tax department scanner, the department is planning to carry out a series of raids on such professionals, on grounds of incomplete disclosures.  According to people familiar with the development, the department got into action after reports that a low-profile Mumbai-based lawyer had an unreported income of Rs 8 crore in his bank account.
The I-T department learnt of the account after the bank informed the department about the interest accruing to the lawyer had totalled over Rs 60 lakh. Under norms, banks are required to report to the Income-Tax department on any interest payment that crosses Rs 10,000.

On inquiry, the tax officers discovered that the lawyer, in his tax returns had disclosed his annual income to be about only a few lakhs. Following this, the assessing officer summoned the lawyer and directed him to file a revised return. The lawyer revised the return disclosing an income of Rs 7.5 crore. “This was the eye-opener for the department, which then decided to closely track other professionals such as doctors and film actors,” said the person familiar with the developments.

Simlarly, reports received by the department also suggested that several doctors, whose incomes run into crores of rupees, don’t make full disclosures. Results of raids on city doctors carried out in the recent past corroborated this information. Recently in a raid conducted at Vile Parle in January, I-T sleuths unearthed over Rs 7 crore from a doctor, who was specialising in weight loss treatment to celebrity clients.

Several Bollywood professionals, mostly actors and technicians, besides distributors and producers, are also reported to be avoiding full disclosures of their income. This is despite the fact that some actors earn huge fees and revenues, if the film they worked for, turns out to be box-office hits. Vidhu Vinod Chopra offered to pay over Rs 30-crore tax, after the historic success of his film 3 Idiots.

According to the company executives familiar with the tax department’s the I-T department is under pressure to meet revised collection targets of Rs 400,000 crore by the end of this fiscal. Though I-T officials are confident of meeting the original target of Rs 3.70 lakh crore, they apprehend a shortfall in the revised target, following the recessionary conditions that affected companies.

Now, the finance ministry has admitted a probable shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore in indirect tax collections (customs and excise) pressure is mounting on I-T officials for maximising collection of direct taxes, comprising mostly of corporate and individual taxes.

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June 2021