Now finally it seems that the government won’t be taking the prosecution of tax defaulters lightly. The income tax department has ushered in prosecution in almost 7,700 cases during 2017-18. This is a very high number, compared to the previous year; a three-fold increase.
Meanwhile, there has also been a four-fold increase concerning prosecution cases filed in court. It adds up to more than 4,500 in 2017-18. It is more than the previous year’s 1,252. These efforts by the government have resulted in sentencing or prosecution of tax defaulters amounting to 75 during the last financial year. It is more than the previous year’s total of 16.
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Earlier, the government had been lenient in the prosecution of tax defaulters, even if a tax demand was raised. Meanwhile, there have been instances when individuals got away without filing returns.
In a TOI report, an official said, “If you want a voluntary compliance in 99% of the cases then you have to target those who are not following the law. In other countries, you cannot get away with after committing serious tax offences.” The report further states that in a number of cases, people were not afraid of searches and used them to clear their accountability. There have been cases when tax has been deducted at source but the amount wasn’t– which is a serious offence and government has begun to take it seriously. Now the government will focus on prosecution of tax defaulters concerning a “willful attempt” to default taxes or penalty with false statements and late returns under the scanner.
In last year’s action plan, prosecution of tax defaulters was a key objective. It was with compounding serious offences. Moreover, the government is predicted to keep a similar stand during the current financial year too.