Cash crunch

Operation Clean Money: CBDT issues fresh norms for IT dept

New Delhi, February 22: After receiving online explanation from 40 % of 18 lakh those queried by taxmen for whereabouts of deposits over 5 lakhs after demonetisation, the CBDT has issued a fresh set of norms on Tuesday for IT sleuths so as to “maintain consistent approach during verification” under ‘Operation Clean Money.’

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) which is the policy- making body of the department has said that any bank account being suspected for “misuse” or “money laundering” or “shell company operations” would not be exempted from probe under ‘Operation Clean Money’ despite having low deposits.

Besides the fresh directives also made it clear that the assessing officers can not harass or made independent enquiry or third party verification outside the online portal.

“Whatever information is necessary during verification, the same has to be collected through the person under verification using online platform only,” the instructions issued to all field offices of the tax department, said. They can not call anyone “personally under any circumstance and at any stage” and “even telephonic queries are to be avoided.”

The CBDT also said: In case, there is information or apprehension/suspicion that a particular bank account(s) has been misused for money laundering, tax evasion, entry operations in shell companies, the monetary cut-off or cash balance based cut off prescribed in clauses above requiring no-verification, shall not be applicable.

It also points out that no additional information is required if total cash out of earlier income or saving is not more than the closing cash balance as on March 31, 2016 in the return for assessment year 2016-17.

However, if any discrepancy is found “further verification may be carried out” and such a procedure should also be followed for cash deposits claimed under tax-exempt categories such as agricultural income, the statement explained.

Verification under the said exercise will be kept “pending” for those who inform the taxman that they will disclose their black money under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) that ends on March 31.

“The verification should be closed on the basis of evidence of disclosure made under PMGKY,” it said.

Besides CBDT also brought in desired relief for common public by noting out that, “It should be ensured that the communications made online with the persons under verification should be in very polite language without containing any element of threat or warning. No show cause of any kind should be given.

It clarified that no person under verification as part of the operation is required to attend the department’s office

Under ‘Operation Clean Money’, the department had sent communications to 18 lakh people who had made suspect deposits of over Rs 5 lakh during the 50-day demonetisation period, while nearly six lakh people have replied on the e-filing portal and have acknowledged to have made such deposits by February 15.

Wefornews Bureau

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