Black money: More IRS officials to get involved in crackdown

Last Updated: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 14:14

New Delhi: An increased number of Indian
Revenue Service (IRS) personnel will be deployed to probe and
gather intelligence on cases involving black money, with the
government taking steps to free these officials from some of
their normal tax collection duties.

This has been made possible by a new notification issued
by the Finance Ministry that increases the upper limit of the
tax cases handled by Income Income Tax Officers (ITOS) -- who
are the nodal officers for tax collection in the I-T
Department -- to Rs 30 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.

"The step has been taken keeping in mind the new
challenges of the department in the fields of investigation
and curbing black money. The income limits for ITOs have been
revised after a decade since they were first introduced in
2001," a senior Finance Ministry officer said.

High-value tax cases worth over Rs 10 lakh were earlier
outside the ITOs` purview and were handled by IRS officers at
the rank of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

The upward revision in the limits will enable the IRS to
focus their efforts on specialised areas like international
taxation, transfer pricing, investigation, intelligence and
criminal prosecution.

"This new step will enable the department to free up its
IRS cadre for tax administration and work in more specialised
areas of international tax, transfer pricing, investigation,
intelligence and criminal prosecutions," the officer said.

According to new rules, which will come into force from
the next financial year, which commences on April 1, 2011, the
ITO in "small cities and mofussil areas" will now handle
non-corporate returns up to Rs 15 lakh and corporate returns
up to Rs 20 lakh.

In addition, their counterparts in metro cities like
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, among others, are
empowered to handle non-corporate income up to Rs 20 lakh and
corporate income up to Rs 30 lakh.

The decision was also taken in view of a large number of
complaints to the I-T Department and Finance Ministry that the
earlier limits of the ITO were causing increasing taxpayers`
burden.

"References have been received by the board from a large
number of taxpayers, especially from mofussil areas, that the
existing monetary limit for assigning cases to ITOs and Deputy
Commissioners/Assistant Commissioners is causing hardship to
taxpayers, as it results in transfer of their cases to a DC/AC
who is located in a different station, which increases the
cost of compliance," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
notification said.

"The board has considered the matter and is of the
opinion that the existing limits need to be revised to remove
the above mentioned hardship," it added.

An increase in the monetary limits is also considered
desirable in view of increase in the scale of trade and
industry since 2001, when the present income limits were
introduced, the notification said.

"The new arrangement has been brought so that taxpayers
in mofussil areas need not travel to far off places or bigger
centres where the Assistant or Deputy Commissioners of I-T
have their office. The ITO can now take up cases of more
taxpayers," the officer said.

The DCs/ACs -- the next level of I-T officers above the
ITO -- will only handle cases above this limit, the notice
said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 14:14

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