I-T Department to use its recently-notified Criminal Investigation unit to arrest and prosecute tax evaders, and retrieve huge tax arrears

The Tax Recovery Officer’s office and powers have been dysfunctional for a long time now, but rising tax arrears, economic crimes and proliferation of black money have made the I-T Department revive and restore the powers and functioning of this unit

The Income-Tax (I-T) Department is all set to crack the whip on tax defaulters by invoking its power, which has not been used for many years, to arrest and prosecute evaders.

The step comes in the backdrop of the government initiating various steps to curb generation of black money in the country and also recently notifying the creation of the first-ever Criminal Investigation (CI) unit in the I-T Department, reports PTI.

The I-T Department, through its Tax Recovery Officer (TRO), has been bestowed with the powers to "arrest and detain" in prison a tax defaulter and carry out subsequent stringent penal action against the individual under the provisions of the Income-Tax Act to recover arrears.

The TRO's office and its powers have been "dysfunctional" for a long time now, but rising tax arrears and economic crimes have made the I-T Department revive and restore the powers and functioning of this unit, which is deputed under every Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT) in the country.

"The jurisdiction of the TRO begins when an assessee is in default or is deemed to be in default in making payment of tax," the I-T Act stipulates.

"A TRO is empowered to attach and sell the an assessee's movable property and immovable property, arrest the assessee and detain him or her in prison and appoint a receiver for the management of this movable and immovable property under Section 222 of the I-T Act," a senior I-T officer said. A recent blueprint of the department, aimed at curbing black money and speeding up the recovery of arrears to the tune of more than Rs2 lakh crore, specifies that the post of TRO should be strengthened and made a "special pay post" to ensure better work.

The TRO should be armed with full details of the assets of the tax defaulter, the TRO's mobility should be increased by providing operational vehicles and additional I-T inspectors should be sanctioned to this unit to launch prosecutions, it suggests.

The blueprint has been floated amongst the top brass of the department and will shortly be placed before the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Finance Ministry for approval.

The official blueprint also says that till these measures become operational, the regular Assessing Officer (AO) in each I-T range of the country should be deputed as a TRO as an immediate measure.

"There is an urgent need to strengthen the office of the TRO in the I-T Department. Out of the total arrears of Rs2,29,032 crore till April last year, a total of Rs2,12,758 crore is difficult to recover and is a cause of worry for the tax collectors," the officer said.

I-T sources say that the post of the TRO is currently not considered a good post to work as the task and powers given to this elite unit are enormous, but the resources deployed are minuscule.

"The present situation is that the powers to attach property and sale of assets which can be done by the TRO are rarely used. With the TRO's office getting fully operational, it will also make economic crime and tax default punishable with arrest and jail, which is rarely done in such cases," a senior I-T officer presently on deputation to another enforcement agency said.


India Post launches mobile money transfer service

The service will be operated by DoP with technological support from BSNL

The Department of Posts (DoP) has launched the mobile-based money transfer service by Post Offices for quicker transfer of money from one city to another.

The service will be operated by DoP with technological support from BSNL.

The service has been launched between Punjab and Bihar Postal Circles for transfer of money up to Rs50,000. The complete roll-out throughout the country would be completed in eight weeks.

People intending to use the service would have to go to the Post Office which will provide them a unique PIN code after the transfer of money. The sender would have to send the PIN to the recipient through a text message who would be home delivered the money after verification of the PIN on his mobile. The recipient could also go to the Post Office and collect the money.

To speed up the money transfer service, the DoP had introduced Electronic MO and Internet MO and that the mobile MO is the third such service.

The DoP also proposes to interconnect all the 1,55,000 Post Offices in the country to subsequently introduce Core Postal Service. The department would also introduce the PO Savings Bank for which the mandatory clearances are being sought.

The charges for mobile money transfer will be the same as it is on the traditional money order-5% of the remitted amount.


Polaris unveils ‘Intellect LRM’ solution for banks

Intellect LRM is the new state-of-the-art liquidity risk management solution meant to improve the bank’s ability to monitor internal liquidity

Financial technology company Polaris Software Lab has launched 'Intellect Liquidity Risk Management (LRM)' solution for banks and financial institutions to help them comply with BASEL III regulations.

BASEL III provided by the Basel committee helps banks and financial institutions enhance the regulatory framework.

"Intellect LRM is the new state-of-the-art liquidity risk management solution meant to improve the bank's ability to monitor internal liquidity," Polaris said in a statement.

"In light of Basel III regulations, the launch of Intellect LRM is just in time. The solution is created from the best practices in global risk and treasury management assimilated over years of working with top tier banks in 80 countries," the Polaris Software Lab Chairman and CEO, Mr Arun Jain, said.

Meanwhile, the company in another statement said it has appointed Mr Pranav Pasricha as Global Head of its insurance business.

Prior to his new post, Mr Pasricha was the Head of Strategy and operations for QBE Insurance Group.


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