Economy
Call data can track economic change, unemployment
Mobile phone data can track economic change and provide rapid insight into employment levels as people's communications patterns change when they are not working, says a new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
 
Without a commute or workspace, most people will make a higher portion of their calls from home -- and they make fewer calls, the study found.
 
The researchers believe the phone data closely aligns with standard unemployment measures, and may allow analysts to make unemployment projections two to eight weeks faster than those made using traditional methods.
 
"Using mobile phone data to project economic change would allow almost real-time tracking of the economy, and at very fine spatial granularities ... both of which are impossible given the current methods of collecting economic statistics," said study co-author David Lazer.
 
The study's starting point was an automotive plant in Europe that closed in 2006, leaving about 1,100 workers unemployed in a town of roughly 15,000 people.
 
The researchers found that in the months following layoffs, the total number of calls made by laid-off individuals dropped by 51 percent compared with working residents, and by 41 percent compared with all phone users.
 
The number of calls made by a newly unemployed worker to someone in the town where they had worked fell by five percentage points, and even the number of individual cellphone towers needed to transmit the calls of unemployed workers dropped by around 20 percent.
 
"Individuals who we believe to have been laid off display fewer phone calls incoming, contact fewer people each month, and the people they are contacting are different," said co-author Jameson Toole.
 
The study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
 
Having the information about the layoffs allowed the researchers to build an algorithm that, by analysing phone-use patterns, assigns a probability that someone has become unemployed.

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Left in the Brain: Potentially Toxic Residue from MRI Drugs
Researchers raise alarms about unknown health risks of GE’s Omniscan and Bayer’s Magnevist, drugs injected to get better MRI pictures that contain the heavy metal gadolinium
 
With a family history of breast cancer, Marcie Jacobs decided in June 2001 that an MRI screening was her best preventive option. 
 
As is common with MRIs, Jacobs was injected beforehand with a contrast agent, a drug that helps sharpen the resulting images. But after a few of these treatments, she began noticing some strange cognitive effects. Jacobs began missing meetings. Over the next several years she had additional MRIs. The math skills that were crucial to her job as finance manager started deteriorating, she said.
 
Jacobs eventually wound up on disability. She stopped worrying about cancer – and started worrying about imaging drugs.
 
This month, two prominent experts in the radiology community joined in the concern, calling for more research into the possible health risks after three recent studies found that gadolinium, a potentially toxic metal, wound up in the brain tissue of MRI patients who used two different contrast agents.
 
Editorializing in the journal “Radiology,” Dr. Emanuel Kanal at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Michael Tweedle at Ohio State University, said the studies “called into question” the “safety of at least some” of these agents. The two urged radiologists to change their prescribing habits, although not to stop using the drugs because of their proven benefits to patients. (Related video.)
 
Nine gadolinium-based contrast agents are sold in the United States. The two in question, Omniscan, made by GE Healthcare, and Magnevist, manufactured by Bayer HealthCare, once dominated the contrast agent market. Both GE and Bayer, in statements, said they were monitoring the issue and noted the new studies had not found any clinical impact, such as brain injury.
 
As ProPublica has reported, contrast agents like Omniscan had been on the market for years when, in 2006, they were linked to a crippling, sometimes fatal condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, or NSF. The Food and Drug Administration put a “black box” warning on the drugs the following year, saying patients with kidney impairment may be at risk of NSF because they were unable to excrete the gadolinium. 
 
ProPublica first disclosed in 2009 that the agency ignored two of its own medical reviewers who wanted to ban Omniscan for patients with severe kidney disease. In 2010, the FDA did act, recommending that GE’s drug and two other agents shouldn’t be used in patients with impaired kidneys. The other drugs were Magnevist and Optimark, sold by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
 
The new studies cited by Kanal and Tweedle have set off alarms because they show that even patients with healthy kidneys are retaining gadolinium from Omniscan and Magnevist. Estimates are that about one-third of the 20 million MRIs in the United States each year use one of the nine contrast agents.
 
Doctors now routinely screen MRI patients for kidney problems before injecting them with contrast agents, and scientists believe that NSF has essentially disappeared. The new studies don’t speak to the clinical effects, if any, of gadolinium in the brain. But in an interview, Kanal said the findings ought to make radiologists think twice about which agents to prescribe. 
 
“We can use an agent today that does not retain gadolinium in the brain to the degree that those other agents do,” he said, referring to Omniscan and Magnevist. Given that the alternatives are “at least as efficacious” as the other two, he asked, “Why are some still prescribing the agents that do accumulate in the brain over the other options?”
 
Jacobs has no medical proof, but she’s convinced the two drugs are behind her problems. 
As her symptoms worsened, Jacobs said she underwent a series of tests that found accumulated traces of gadolinium in her breast, thigh, liver and brain. Doctors were puzzled because she had no history of kidney disease and did not fit into the identified at-risk group… Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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TDS credit mismatch cannot be enforced coercively
The tax department cannot issue a direct demand against the assessee for tax deducted but not remitted by the deductor
 
The biggest problem faced by some of the taxpayers today is the mismatch between the tax deducted at source (TDS) and what is remitted to the government by the deductor as shown in Form 26AS of the Income Tax website. 
 
If the tax deductor does not remit the tax deducted at source to the government, for whatever reasons, what is the recourse available to the tax payer? The taxpayer can do nothing but stare at the inscrutable ways of tax collection by the government. There are several corporates who deduct tax from the salary of their employees, but fail to remit the same to the government and then go bankrupt. How do you tackle this menace? As per Section 199 of the Income Tax act, credit for TDS is given to the tax payer only if it is paid in to the central government account. 
 
However, under another section 205 of the Income tax act, it is clearly stipulated that where tax is deductible at source, the assessee shall not be called upon to pay the tax himself to the extent to which tax has been deducted from that income. Obviously, it means once the tax is deducted from your income, even if it is not remitted to the government, by the deductor, you should get credit to that extent. The relevant sections read as under:
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Section - 199, Income-tax Act, 1961 - Credit for tax deducted.
 
“199. (1) Any deduction made in accordance with the foregoing pro-visions of this Chapter and paid to the Central Government shall be treated as a payment of tax on behalf of the person from whose income the deduction was made, or of the owner of the security, or of the depositor or of the owner of property or of the unit-holder, or of the shareholder, as the case may be.
 
(2) Any sum referred to in sub-section (1A) of section 192 and paid to the Central Government shall be treated as the tax paid on behalf of the person in respect of whose income such payment of tax has been made.
 
(3) The Board may, for the purposes of giving credit in respect of tax deducted or tax paid in terms of the provisions of this Chapter, make such rules9 as may be necessary, including the rules for the purposes of giving credit to a person other than those referred to in sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) and also the assessment year for which such credit may be given.”
 
Section - 205, Income-tax Act, 1961-2015 - Bar against direct demand on assessee.
 
205. Where tax is deductible at the source under the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, the assessee shall not be called upon to pay the tax himself to the extent to which tax has been deducted from that income.”                    
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The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has on 1st June, 2015 issued a clarification to the Income Tax officials that in view of Sec.205 of the Act, that demand on account of tax credit mismatch cannot be enforced coercively and that the assessees are not put at any inconvenience on account of default of deposit of tax into the government account by the deductor. 
 
The copy of the CBDT directive dated 1 June 2015 is reproduced here below:
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No. 275/29/2014-IT-(B)                                                                                                                              
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Central Board of Direct Taxes
 
Dated New Delhi, the 1st June, 2015
 
To, 
 
The CCsIT (CCA)
 
Subject: Non-deposit of Tax Deducted at Source – regarding. 
 
Sir/Madam,
 
Grievances have been received by the Board from many taxpayers that in their cases the deductor has deducted tax at source from payments made to them in accordance with the provisions of Chapter-XVII of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereafter ‘the Act’) but has failed to deposit the same into the Government account leading to denial of credit of such deduction of tax to these taxpayers and consequent raising of demand.
 
2. As per Section 199 of the Act credit of Tax Deducted at Source is given to the person only if it is paid to the Central Government Account. However, as per Section 205 of the Act the assessee shall not be called upon to pay the tax to the extent tax has been deducted from his income where the tax is deductible at source under the provisions of Chapter- XVII. Thus the Act puts a bar on direct demand against the assessee in such cases and the demand on account of tax credit mismatch cannot be enforced coercively.
 
3. This may be brought to the notice of all the assessing officers in your region so that if the facts of the case so justify, the assessees are not put at any inconvenience on account of default of deposit of tax into the Government account by the deductor.
 
4. This issues with the approval of Chairperson, CBDT.
 
Yours faithfully
(Sandeep Singh)                                                                                                                                        
Under Secretary to the Govt. of India                                                                                                                
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These instructions no doubt provide some sort of relief to the harassed tax payers, but unfortunately do not provide solutions to all the problems encountered by the assessees for the following reasons:
  1. If the tax deducted at source is not remitted to the government by the deductor, the taxpayer will not get the TDS certificate in respect of this tax paid by him. In such a case, it is not clear as to how this tax will deducted by his employer be included in his return of income in the absence of a TDS certificate for the tax so deducted.
  2. In the absence of TDS certificate, will the Income Tax officer accept the TDS shown in the pay-slip of the employee and give credit for such tax deducted at source? The government should evolve a method by which the taxpayer should get credit for the tax so deducted, though not remitted to the government, by the deductor. 
  3. Since the tax deductor is de-facto and de-jure an agent of the government and under the present laws the principal, namely the government, is legally liable for all actions of the agent, the taxpayer should not be made to suffer for the failure of the agent (deductor) to remit the TDS into the government coffers. 
  4. The aforesaid CBDT instructions only specify that the demand, if any, on account of mismatch cannot be enforced coercively. If the demand itself is not in order, where is the question of enforcing it coercively or otherwise?  In all fairness CDBT should revise these instructions to say that no demand should be sent to the extent of the tax that has been deducted but not remitted to the government by the deductor. 
  5. In case the tax payer is entitled for a refund after accounting for the TDS for which he is not having a TDS certificate, it is not clear whether the ITO will release the refund due, as the CBDT instructions are only not to enforce the tax demand but is silent about the refund, if any, due to the tax payer. 
  6. At present, there is no column in the tax return where the taxpayer can mention the details of tax deducted at source, but not shown in Form 26AS due the failure of the deductor to remit the tax to the government. CBDT should include a separate column for all such contingencies with the name and address of the deductor who has not issued the TDS certificate for no fault of the tax payer. 
It is, therefore, necessary for the CBDT to give clear-cut instructions to the Income tax officers in all the above matters and ensure that the taxpayer does not have to suffer on account of the failure of the government to collect the tax from the tax deductor, who legally collects the tax on behalf of the government but illegally pockets it and dupes the government. 
 
(The author is the financial analyst writing for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur)
 

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COMMENTS

Shantilal Hajeri

2 years ago

Very useful information. I am a victim of such notices by Income tax Department. They have forcibly adjusted my refunds towards the earlier dues due to mismatch in TDS statement. Can I recover it?

SKRISHNAN

2 years ago

My miss-match is different. I deposited Rs15,152 as self assessment tax in Indian Bank,Mayur Vihar,Delhi. While remitting the amount to Govt. account the Bank quoted a wrong PAN No by miss-typing one of the letters of my PAN No. Though the identity of the Co. to whom it got credited has been found the matter is still pending.I have with me the Copy of Challan showing my correct PAN No as also proof of payment through a debit of the amount in my Pass Book. Please clarify to my e mail id [email protected] Thanks

PRABAL BISWAS

2 years ago

Extremely good and helpful write up

lamp

2 years ago

Employees of a Hyderabad based company had a similar experience , where employer had not remitted the TDS for good 20 months from 2012fy and CTBT slapped demand notices to employee,
We had Put a RTI request on IT requesting the details of prosecution and actions taken on the employer to recover the TDS , for which promptly replied as third party information cannot be disclosed.

m e yeolekar

2 years ago

If the TDS has not been deducted adequately (in a situation of pending arrears paid at one go),but the assesse has made payment as advance tax in March,only with PAN under intimation to employer,that should be considered sufficient.

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