Only 60,000 respond to I-T dept's query on large cash deposits: report

Only about 60,000 people of the 18 lakh people who have deposited large amounts in bank deposits since demonetisation have responded to the Income Tax Department's queries on these deposits, says a report.

According to a report in The Economic Times, the tax authorities have sought clarifications from 1.8 million people, just over 2 lakh people have logged on to the website of the income tax department while only less than a third of these responded to the department's queries.

Of the 60,000 who responded to the queries, some have agreed to pay tax, said Sushil Chandra, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

He said no notice has been sent to anyone as yet as ''It's a request for e-verification of their accounts and an explanation.''

The department expects more people to respond to its queries before the financial year closes on 31 March, failing which formal notices under the income tax law will be sent to them. ''The department will have to issue notices and make assessments,'' said Chandra. More requests for information are likely to go out soon as deeper data mining starts, he said.

The I-T Department has with it a list of 1.8 million people who have deposited large amounts in banks and they have been asked to provide information in a non-intrusive manner, says the CBDT chairman.

Structured response options have been framed so that people can clarify whether the deposit was from an earlier withdrawal from a bank account or part of exempted income. They can state if the account holder is an agriculturalist or if the money was a gift from someone who provided a PAN.

If no appropriate explanation is suggested, responses can be made in the 'others' option. If the department is not satisfied with the answers, it may provide more opportunities to explain.

Respondents will also have a chance to avail of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) before 31 March.

Chandra said while the purpose  of demonetisation was to unearth unaccountede money, the department opted for this method. ''We did not want to create a panic,'' he said, adding that honest taxpayers should not be troubled.

''There was a time when every case was being scrutinised. Now we scrutinise less than 1 per cent Now even if I want a case, I don't have the power. No one has the discretion to pick a case for scrutiny,'' the report quoted Chandra as saying.