The defaulters' names were put up on the department's website last week, while a senior official told IANS here that the newspaper notice, apart from being a novel way of shaming defaulters, would also help in tracing them
With the curtains coming down on the current fiscal, the Income Tax department on Tuesday for the first time issued newspaper notices on 18 tax defaulters -- 11 of them Gujarat-based -- who collectively owe over Rs500 crore to the exchequer.
The defaulters' names were put up on the department's website last week, while a senior official told IANS here that the newspaper notice, apart from being a novel way of shaming defaulters, would also help in tracing them.
In view of multiple cases of assessees not being traceable, which has reduced chances of recovery, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has provided the PAN number and the last-known address of these defaulters so that the public could give information about their whereabouts.
The list includes Somani Cement with tax arrears of Rs27.47 crore; Blue Information Technology with Rs75.11 crore in arrears; Appletech Solutions at Rs27.07 crore; and Jupiter Business with Rs21.31 crore.
The Gujarat-based companies in the list include Icon Bio Pharma and Healthcare Ltd., Banyan and Berry Alloys, Virag Dyeing and Printing, Poonam Industries and Kunvar Ajay Food -- all with arrears ranging from Rs15 crore to Rs19 crore.
Other companies in the list include Jaipur-based Goldsukh Trade India (Rs75.47 crore) and Kolkata-based Victor Credit and Construction (Rs13.81 crore).
The department will meet its projected target of collecting Rs700,000 crore in income tax in the 2014-15 fiscal, a senior income tax official told IANS earlier this month.
Meanwhile, at a time when unaccounted wealth of Indians stashed away in foreign banks is under the scanner, the income tax department has shifted its attention from civil consequences to criminal consequences in serious cases of tax evasion.
"In its crusade against black money and with a view to having credible deterrence against generation of black money, the government has shifted its focus to successfully prosecuting the offenders in the shortest possible time," the finance ministry said in a statement last month.
"During 2014-15 (up to December 2014), the income tax department had conducted searches in 414 groups and seized undisclosed assets of Rs582 crore," the statement added.
Undisclosed income of Rs6,769 crore has been admitted by the taxpayers during such searches.
Saying that the focus of investigation in the department had so far been on civil consequences, or revenue augmentation, the ministry said over 600 prosecution complaints have been filed in the current fiscal up to December 2014.
Reacting to an Indian Express report last month that 1,195 Indians were in the list of clients who have accounts in HSBC bank's Geneva branch from 2006-2007, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: "The details that have come out are the ones we already have."
The central government has completed assessment of 350 foreign accounts while tax-evasion proceedings have been initiated against 60 account holders, Jaitley told reporters here.
In this connection, at the G20 Brisbane summit in November 2014, leaders endorsed a new global transparency standard by which more than 90 jurisdictions will begin automatic exchange of tax information, using a common reporting standard by 2017-2018.
India has no official estimates of illegal money stashed away overseas, but the unofficial ones range from $466 billion to $1.4 trillion.