Decline in direct tax collection has prompted the government to keep a check on small unregistered businesses across the country. The government is considering to increase the penalty by two-fold to check tax evasions.
“The government has initiated internal reforms to prevent any instances of harassment by tax officials, making assessment a transparent process. But it does not mean the department will go soft on tax evaders. It has asked for heavy penalty on tax evaders. The proposal is already under consideration,” said a senior tax official.
The Income Tax (I-T) Department has recently seized Rs 30 crore unaccounted cash during raids on a Tamil Nadu-based business group running coaching institutes for competitive examinations.
The search and seizure operations covering 17 premises of the group were carried out on the basis of input that the group was indulging in tax evasion.
“Based on preliminary findings, the undisclosed income of the group is estimated to be over Rs 150 crore. This is just the tip of an iceberg.
"There are so many such centres across India, which are doing transactions in cash. We will increase our searches in coming days. Tax evasion has to be taken seriously,” the tax official added.
On October 9, the I-T department raided four colleges — Sri Siddhartha Medical College, Sri Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Sri Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research, and RL Jalappa Hospital and Research Centre in Karnataka.
“Overall the total undisclosed income detected so far is around Rs 100 crore considering the cash donations received for 185 seats averaging Rs 50 lakh to Rs 65 lakh per seat and total seizure of undisclosed assets of Rs 8.82 crore,” the department said.
The official said the I-T sleuths are keeping eyes on sales and under reporting of income among small traders during the festive season.
“There are many unregistered businesses, small traders, coaching institutes, parlours, bullion traders who are not registered and escape the tax net. We have prepared a list and asked all the regional centres to initiate action against the tax evaders,” said a senior CBDT official.
The I-T department surveyed the premises of a couple of bullion dealers in Zaveri Bazaar.