The demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes in November last year has helped bring 9.1 million more people under the tax net as money has lost its anonymity, union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday. This is roughly adds as much as 25 per cent to the 37 million individuals who filed tax returns in 2015-16.
Launching a new website for 'Operation Clean Money', a initiative to bring illegal wealth on the books, Jaitley said demonetisation had given a push to digitisation and led to an increase in the number of assessees and in tax revenues. The 8 November demonetisation announcement had also instilled fear among people about dealing in cash, he said.
''One message has gone out clearly as per the steps taken by the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) post demonetisation - it is no longer safe to deal with excessive cash and tax evaded money ... it is absolutely clear that those who have been indulging in all these are no longer safe,'' Jaitley said.
After demonetisation, there had been a hike in collection of personal income tax, the finance minister said, adding that the new portal would help honest taxpayers.
CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said there was 17 per cent growth in gross collection, which was Rs1.46 lakh crore more than last year's.
There was 22 per cent growth in e-filed returns after demonetisation, he said. Total returns filed up to March were 52.8 million, out of which 98 per cent were e-filed returns.
The number of PAN allotment increased from 100,000 to 200,000 a day, and the tax department had allotted more than 300 million Personal Account Numbers to various persons, he said.
Operation Clean Money was initiated by the Income Tax department on 31 January for the e-verification of large cash deposits made between 9 November and 30 December 2016, when people were allowed to deposit cash in old currency in banks.
In the first phase, around 1.8 million people were identified whose cash transactions did not appear in line with the taxpayer's profile.
More than 972,000 taxpayers submitted their response without visiting the income tax office till 12 May.
These taxpayers have provided response for 1.3 million accounts involving cash deposits of around Rs2.89 lakh crore. Online responses have been assessed and no further action will be taken in cases of satisfactory explanation, said an official statement.
The department has also identified 371,000 new accounts relating to 158,000 taxpayers who made partial declaration of accounts and amounts in responses under phase-1 of Operation Clean Money.
In the phase-2 of Operation Clean Money, the department will handle high risk cases by selecting appropriate enforcement action (verification, search, survey, scrutiny).
For 595,000 persons in low risk and 341,000 persons in very low risk category, the department will monitor tax compliance in due course.