I-T dept taking close look at property deals worth over Rs30 lakh: CBDT chief

The Income Tax department will scrutinise the tax history of all people who have registered property valued above Rs30 lakh to detect 'benami' transactions, Sushil Chandra, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has said.

He said the Income Tax department will look into the tax history of all people who have registered property valued above Rs30 lakh to for possible tax evasion by the property owners and to find out whether they own such properties by proxy.

Since the beneficial owner of the asset in benami ownerships will be different from its legal owner, there will be mismatches between asset ownership and reported income, which would enable the department to identify cases of tax evasion.

He said the tax department has attached 621 benami properties, including some bank accounts, totally valued at Rs1,800 crore since the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act was notified for implementation on 1 November last year.

The CBDT chairman said the tax department is also investigating shell companies that were recently struck off the registry and their directors as part of the drive against black money generation.

''We will destroy all instruments that are used to launder unaccounted wealth. This also includes shell companies,'' Chandra told reporters after inaugurating the Income Tax department pavilion at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) which began at New Delhi's Pragati Maidan on Tuesday.

Chandra said the tax authority has already done a lot of work on tracking down benami assets.

He said CBDT is confident of achieving direct tax collection of Rs9,80,000 crore this fiscal and possibly exceeding the target.

"The collections (under the income tax, personal tax and other direct tax categories) have been buoyant and very good. I am very happy to say that the net growth of collections is about 15.2 per cent at the moment and I would say that the individual assessees under the advance tax category have responded very well.

"The advance tax of the individual assessees rose by 30 per cent, which is quite heartening for the department," Chandra said.

He added that the department had witnessed an overall increase of 20 per cent in returns filed post demonetisation and hence, the "tax will be much more".

"We have achieved 15.2 per cent and will meet the target. We are confident of going past the target of Rs9,80,000 crore," Chandra told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

The CBDT, the policy-making body of the I-T department had, on 7 November, said that direct tax collections had clocked 44.8 per cent of the total budget estimate of Rs 9,80,000 crore for 2017-18.