Income tax prosecution complaints surge nearly 3 fold in April-November

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The tax department on Friday said it has filed prosecution complaints in 2,225 cases during April- November 2017 for offences under the Income Tax Act, nearly three-fold jump over the corresponding period a year ago.

Besides, 48 persons were convicted for various offences during the said period as compared to 13 convictions for the corresponding eight months of 2016, marking an increase of 269 per cent, a finance ministry statement said.

Due to the decisive and focused action taken by the department against tax evaders, the number of defaulters convicted by the courts has also registered a sharp increase during the current fiscal, the ministry said.

"During FY 2017-18 (up to the end of November 2017), the Department filed Prosecution complaints for various offences in 2,225 cases compared to 784 for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding year, marking an increase of 184 per cent," the ministry said.

Prosecutions have been initiated for various offences including wilful attempt to evade tax or payment of any tax, wilful failure in filing returns of income, false statement in verification and failure to deposit the tax deducted/collected at source or inordinate delay in doing so, among other defaults.

The number of complaints compounded by the department during April-November stands at 1,052 as against 575 in the corresponding period of the immediately preceding year, registering a rise of 83 per cent, the ministry said.

Compounding of offences is done when the defaulter admits to its offence and pays the compounding fee as per stipulated conditions.

The tax department has accorded the highest priority to tackle the menace of black money and has initiated criminal prosecution proceedings in a large number of cases of tax offenders and evaders.

"The Income Tax Department is committed to carry forward the drive against tax evasion and action against tax evaders will continue in all earnest in the remaining part of the current financial year," the ministry said.

Among the cases where court has ruled in favour of the I-T department include a Dehradun Court convicted one defaulter for holding undisclosed foreign bank account and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment for wilful attempt to evade tax and to two years for false statement in verification along with monetary penalty for each default, respectively.

In Bengaluru, the MD of a company engaged in infrastructure projects was found guilty of non-deposit of TDS of over Rs 60 lakh and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of three months along with imposition of fine.

Similarly, a Mohali resident was held guilty of non- deposit of TDS within prescribed time and sentenced to one year jail along with fine.

In another case of Hyderabad, director of an infrastructure company was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of six months and fine for wilful attempt to evade tax. She was simultaneously sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six months along with a fine for false statement in verification.

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