Post-DeMo: 18L accounts come under I-T scanner

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The circle of suspicion is growing wider. As many as half of 18 lakh accounts, where more than Rs 5 lakh was deposited during the 50-day window provided by the government after demonetisation, are being considered as suspicious by the income tax (I-T) department.

Official sources said that action against them would follow after the amnesty scheme closes on March 31.

Under ‘Operation Clean Money,’ the I-T department had sent SMS and e-mails to these 18 lakh account holders, who were asked to clarify on the deposits and their source by February 15.

A window to come clean on black money has also been opened through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), where the government has offered amnesty to black money depositors if they pay 50 per cent of the amount as tax, penalty and surcharge and lock another 25 per cent for four years in a non-interest bearing deposits. The scheme ends on March 31. Government sources said those who did not reply must have a “good legal explanation” for their cash deposits and may have chosen to show them in tax returns.

But showing it as part of I-T returns is not sufficient as any abnormal rise in income for 2016-17 over 2015-16 will be considered unacco­u­nted wealth or bla­ck money and treated as per law.

But since SMSes and e-mails do not have any legal backing, the department will have to send formal notices and then wait till March 31 to initiate action in doubtful cases, sources said.

Action against any depositor can be taken only after the scheme closes, as the depositor may choose to disclose the wealth and pay taxes, sources explained.

Around 5.27 lakh asses­s­e­es, out of 18 lakh, who were sent SMSes and e-mails, su­b­mitted their respo­nse till February 12. Some 99.5 per cent of 5.27 lakh assessees also confirmed the am­ount they deposited during the 50-day demonetisation that ended on December 30.

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