Income Tax department to issue ‘non-statutory’ letters in case of no reply

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New Delhi: Over Rs4.5 lakh crore worth of suspicious deposits by 18 lakh people are under “verification” by the income tax (I-T) department, which will send “non-statutory” letters to those who have not responded to SMS and e-mail queries.

So far, it has received replies from over 7 lakh people who have accepted making such deposits and the department will issue letters to the remaining nudging them to explain the source of deposits on the e-filing portal under Operation Clean Money.

“More than 99% of the 7 lakh respondents have accepted that the data are correct,” the official said. As many as 5 lakh people out of these 18 lakh people who have been sent SMS and e-mail are not registered in the e-filing portal, the official said.

As many as Rs4.5 lakh crore worth of deposits have been made by these 18 lakh people during the 50-day demonetisation period, a senior official told PTI.

The department has alerted the field offices about the data of people who have not responded as well as over 5 lakh people who are not registered with the e-filing portal and they have been asked to send letters. Under Operation Clean Money, the tax department had issued SMS and e-mails to 18 lakh people who have made suspicious deposits of over Rs5 lakh asking them to explain the source of funds by 15 February on the e-filing portal.

“So far, over 7 lakh responses had come. The window is still open and people can file replies. Those who have not replied will now be getting letters from the tax department,” the official said.

As per the data with the I-T department, deposits of over Rs2 lakh totalling Rs10 lakh crore have been made in 1 crore bank accounts.

Of this, Rs4.5 lakh crore have come under verification of the tax department. The official further said the tax department wants to avoid harassment to taxpayers and hence, has asked the field offices to send “non-statutory” letters to the people who have not filed reply.

“Only in certain cases where we have full evidence of an assessee trying to evade the tax net, there we will visit physically and conduct surveys,” the official said.