I-T dept plans new measures to curb tax evasion

New Delhi: The Income Tax (I-T) department plans to "immediately capture" on receipt the data of returns filed by taxpayers to enhance their investigation and enforcement action to curb tax evasion and reduce tax gap over the next few years, reports PTI.

The department is also mooting developing a "criminal investigation" system within its establishment to combat terror financing, money laundering, offshore tax evasion and other illegal trades which impact national security.

"Income Tax department intends to use innovative methods to supplement its traditional enforcement tools in order to reduce the tax gap during the strategic plan period 2011-15. A conscious effort will be made to move towards non-intrusive targeted enforcement tools," the 'Vision 2020' document of the department said.

The 30-page document, which charts out the course of action for the I-T department over next few years, was unveiled recently by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

To achieve this objective, the I-T department will "make internal data available almost on real time basis by capturing data from paper returns immediately after receipt," the document said.

The department also aims at making internal data (of I-T) "robust and current" by including information gathered during enforcement action by the investigation wing and the assessing officers.

The I-T department will also consider modification of Income Tax Return forms to capture relevant information to facilitate matching of external information, it added.

The department, which is currently probing a host of high-profile financial irregularities from and to overseas destinations, considers that the "next decade will see an increased role (of I-T) in scrutinising" such transactions and fund flows.

"This will require the income tax department to deploy considerable resource and energy on criminal investigation.

Effective criminal investigation will necessarily include a comprehensive international strategy to combat offshore tax evasion, and fund flows that threaten security of the country."

The document, which will undergo a mid-term review in 2013, aims at taking forward the strategic planning of the department and its policies from 2011-2015 along with the new Direct Taxes Code (DTC) which is proposed to replace the current Income Tax Act from next fiscal.

The roadmap seeks to strategise the policies of the department as new technological development, accelerated globalisation, exchange of information between revenue authorities and the new Direct Tax Code offer both challenges and opportunities.

The department also proposes to hone its cyber forensic skills, keep tab on fund flow relating to money laundering, narcotics and terror and "ensure exemplary enforcement against abusive schemes and corporate tax frauds."

The I-T department accounts for 60% of the central revenue.


Reliance Retail to open 150 stores by March

Kolkata: Reliance Retail Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has chalked out plans to open another 150 stores in all formats by March 2011, reports PTI quoting a top official.

"We will open 100 to 150 stores by March," Reliance Retail president and chief executive (lifestyle) Bijou Kurien told reporters on the sidelines of the Retail Summit here.

He said that so far, Reliance Retail has 1,050 stores in all formats in the country. "We will be setting up 350 stores during the whole fiscal," he said.

Mr Kurien said that to meet the Rs45,000-crore revenue target over the next five years, the number of stores would be more than doubled.

"Reliance Retail has 20 formats of stores both in food and non-food items," he said.

In the last fiscal, the company's revenue stood at Rs4,500 crore.

Relating to Marks & Spencer, he said currently there are 21 such stores across the country. This would be increased to 50 in three year's time.

He said Reliance Retail is also keen to expand its footprint in the Northeast and Bihar.


Pranab asks CMs to crack down on hoarders

New Delhi: Under attack for the inability to control surging food prices, especially onions, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has written a letter to state chief ministers (CMs) asking them to crack down on hoarders to ensure increase in supply of essential items, reports PTI.

"The finance minister has written a letter to all state CMs to crack down on hoarders for removing supply bottlenecks and has sought their help in controlling inflation," a key source said here.

Yesterday, Mr Mukherjee had said the state governments need to ensure that all bottlenecks in the supply chain are removed so that food prices can be brought down quickly.

Food inflation climbed nearly to a year's high of 18.32% on 25th December, due to spurt in prices of onions among other vegetables besides milk.

The wholesale food inflation jumped by 3.88 percentage points from 14.44% in the previous week ending 18 December 2010, taking the government by surprise.

The extent of high food inflation could be gauged from the fact that the rate of price rise last year at this point of time was almost 20%.

It means that food inflation now is 18.32% over 20% last year.

The damage to onion crops in parts of Maharashtra due to unseasonal rains had led to short supply, as its prices skyrocketed to Rs75-Rs80 a kg in retail shops in various parts of the country.

However, the Centre's move to ban onion exports and remove customs and countervailing duties on the vegetable led to some cooling of prices later.

Prices are now ruling at around Rs45-Rs50 a kg.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has refused to export onions to India, which may blunt the impact of removing customs and countervailing duties by the government here.

The further easing of onion prices depends on its imports from other countries as well as crackdown on hoarders, analysts said.

Chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu recently blamed cartels among traders for high onion prices.

He had said the movement of onions should be expedited to cool down its prices.

In fact, home minister P Chidambaram wondered recently if the government has all the tools to calm down food prices.

This implies that the Centre has to rely on cooperation of states to bring down prices of essential commodities.

The rising food prices have given more teeth to the opposition to corner the government.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said yesterday that the Congress-led government was not doing enough to tackle the crisis and it stood "exposed" in front of the people.

Meanwhile, a finance ministry statement said Mr Mukherjee in his letter asked state governments to ensure that all bottlenecks in the supply chain are removed at the earliest and the availability of the food items causing inflation is improved so that their prices can be brought down quickly.

He requested the chief ministers to urgently look into the supply management of items that are driving the current round of food inflation in the economy.

Mr Mukherjee asked them to particularly look into the local factors that are widening the gap between the wholesale and retail prices.

The finance minister said much of the food inflation, which stood at 18.32%, has been due to significant increase in the prices of a few primary items (those found in the raw form) like fruits and vegetables, milk, meat, poultry, eggs and fish.

He also mentioned in his letter that the inflation data shows that three-fourth of food inflation is due to rising prices of vegetables.

On the other hand, nearly one-fourth of cereals and pulses prices have declined sharply and continue to do so even in the recent weeks when food inflation started rising.

There are some weather-induced supply constraints on some of the items currently exhibiting high inflation, which goes against the seasonal decline in prices normally seen at this time of the year, the letter said.

However, a larger part of price rise is due to the widening gap between the wholesale and retail prices and the growing demand for these products due to rising income levels, Mr Mukherjee said.

The finance minister said that from a high of nearly 21% for the week ended 21 April 2010, food inflation declined to 8.60% for the week ended 20th November due to "our collective efforts".

This trend has reversed since then, he added.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)