Think twice before you decide to ignore a call or message from the Income Tax Department seeking information on returns. The Department has identified over 6,000 assessees, whose income in the returns filed and bank transactions did not match.

The Department has launched a nationwide campaign to spot such non-responding persons to catch the evaders, and collect due taxes as well as penalties from them.

“Triangulation of data is helping the Department find the mismatch. The I-Tax Department gets data on GST turnover and capital market from SEBI and bank transactions from banks. So, if an assessee is reporting less income in the returns, but the other data shows a difference, queries will be raised,” a Tax Department official said..

He said no State-wise or zone-wise data of such assessees has been prepared as it is a process of jurisdiction-free assessment. But, with the technology-driven faceless assessment scheme, it would be difficult for evaders to avoid scrutiny.

Sharing some cases informally, sources said, an individual from Rajkot, Gujarat, showed income less than ₹5 lakh a year, but nearly ₹10-crore worth cash deposits in bank accounts and cash withdrawal of ₹7.5 crore. This person did not respond to six notices, over 10 SMS alerts and other means to contact him, the official said.

Bank a/c, assets attached

A survey operation was conducted during which the individual was not traceable and the business premises shown in the income tax returns was that of someone else. His house was traced from the bank data but he appeared to have absconded. Now, the process to attach his bank account and other assets has been initiated.

In another case in Mumbai, an individual showed income less than ₹5 lakh a year, but had cash deposits worth ₹12 crore. Pre-survey examination revealed cash deposits of about ₹60 crore. During the survey, diaries were impounded as the individual does not maintain books of accounts. Further, enquires are underway to pinpoint the source of cash. In yet another case, an individual from Alwar, Rajasthan, had deposited cash of ₹27 crore in his bank account in FY 2017-18 and ₹22 crore in FY 2019-20 and had shown an income in the range of ₹3-5 lakh. The individual is now being investigated, the official said.

The official added that the faceless assessment scheme, along with improved Form 26AS and pre-filled ITRs, is designed to make a distinction between honest taxpayers and tax evaders.