After the first tranche tax letters, the government is all set to post a second set of 35,000 “polite letters” to income tax assesses in a clear sign of hardening of stance.
Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose said on Tuesday that these letters would be converted in to notices if the assesses fail to respond to them. The finance ministry has earlier sent 35,000 letters, which will now take the number to 70,000 tax letters that have been sent by the government.
“We have a whole lot of information with us. There is also information on cash transactions. Either you pay taxes or else these letters would turn into notices,” Bose said.
Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had earlier warned tax evaders of penal action. “In income tax there is no case for amnesty because now almost all returns are online except a small category which was exempt. We have a huge amount of data which is being mined. Therefore, there is no case for amnesty today. Best case I can make out is tell people ‘please don’t hide your income’. Just admit your income and pay tax and be a proud citizen,” Chidambaram had said.
Bose said that the government was sending out the letters to ask if the tax assesses have paid their income tax. The letters would become notices only if the tax assesses chose to ignore them. Bose was speaking at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in the capital on Tuesday.
In order to provide a boost to tax collection, Chidambaram has not only taken a hawkish view on tax dodgers, he also imposed an additional 10 per cent surcharge on individuals earning more than Rs 1 crore in the Budget.
The Finance Minister expressed shock at only 42,800 people admitting to earning more that Rs 1 crore a year. The government hopes to mop up an additional Rs 13,000 crore in the financial year 2013- ’14 by taking the ‘super-rich’.