Black money: More IRS officials to get involved in crackdown

New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) An increased number of IndianRevenue Service (IRS) personnel will be deployed to probe andgather intelligence on cases involving black money, with thegovernment taking steps to free these officials from some oftheir normal tax collection duties.

This has been made possible by a new notification issuedby the Finance Ministry that increases the upper limit of thetax cases handled by Income Income Tax Officers (ITOS) -- whoare the nodal officers for tax collection in the I-TDepartment -- to Rs 30 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.

"The step has been taken keeping in mind the newchallenges of the department in the fields of investigationand curbing black money. The income limits for ITOs have beenrevised after a decade since they were first introduced in2001," a senior Finance Ministry officer said.

High-value tax cases worth over Rs 10 lakh were earlieroutside the ITOs'' purview and were handled by IRS officers atthe rank of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

The upward revision in the limits will enable the IRS tofocus their efforts on specialised areas like internationaltaxation, transfer pricing, investigation, intelligence andcriminal prosecution.

"This new step will enable the department to free up itsIRS cadre for tax administration and work in more specialisedareas of international tax, transfer pricing, investigation,intelligence and criminal prosecutions," the officer said.

According to new rules, which will come into force fromthe next financial year, which commences on April 1, 2011, theITO in "small cities and mofussil areas" will now handlenon-corporate returns up to Rs 15 lakh and corporate returnsup to Rs 20 lakh.

In addition, their counterparts in metro cities likeDelhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, among others, areempowered to handle non-corporate income up to Rs 20 lakh andcorporate income up to Rs 30 lakh.

The decision was also taken in view of a large number ofcomplaints to the I-T Department and Finance Ministry that theearlier limits of the ITO were causing increasing taxpayers''burden.

"References have been received by the board from a largenumber of taxpayers, especially from mofussil areas, that theexisting monetary limit for assigning cases to ITOs and DeputyCommissioners/Assistant Commissioners is causing hardship totaxpayers, as it results in transfer of their cases to a DC/ACwho is located in a different station, which increases thecost of compliance," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)notification said. .

"The board has considered the matter and is of the opinion that the existing limits need to be revised to removethe above mentioned hardship," it added.

An increase in the monetary limits is also considereddesirable in view of increase in the scale of trade andindustry since 2001, when the present income limits wereintroduced, the notification said.

"The new arrangement has been brought so that taxpayersin mofussil areas need not travel to far off places or biggercentres where the Assistant or Deputy Commissioners of I-Thave their office. The ITO can now take up cases of moretaxpayers," the officer said.

The DCs/ACs -- the next level of I-T officers above theITO -- will only handle cases above this limit, the noticesaid.

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