The Income-Tax Department on Thursday released a pan-India list of 24 defaulting individuals and companies who owe about Rs 490 crore in taxes to the exchequer but have either gone untraceable or have reported inadequate assets for payment of dues.
The department issued an advertisement as part of its name and shame defaulters policy in leading national dailies titled "List of defaulters of Income Tax and Corporate Tax".
The notice, issued by a nodal office of the Principal Director General of Income Tax in Delhi, "advised" the named defaulters to pay their tax arrears immediately.
The public announcement carries the identity of the firm or the individual, the name of their directors and partners, the date of incorporation of the company (date of birth in case of individuals), their Permanent Account Number (PAN) or the Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN), their last known address and business profile, the amount of tax-defaulted, assessment year and the respective jurisdictional I-T authority.
These defaulting firms were in the business sectors like food processing, bullion trading, software, real estate, breweries and manufacture of ingots among others.
The maximum tax dues of over Rs 86.27 crore is against a Delhi-based company named Ms Stock Guru, India and its partner Lokeshwar Dev and the notice said the assessee has gone untraceable and also has inadequate assets to pay the income tax.
The dues for this firm are for the assessment years (AYs) 2009-10 and 2010-11. Some of the defaulters on the list have not paid their taxes for the assessment year 1989-90.
A Kolkata-based individual Arjun Sonkar, as per the notice, has an I-T default of over Rs 51.37 crore and is "not traceable" now.
He is followed by Kishan Sharma, another individual from the West Bengal capital, who the department said is in default of Rs 47.52 crore of income tax.
The total tax default amount by 24 entities, from cities like Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Vijayawada, Nashik, Surat, Delhi, Vadodara, Kolkata and others, is about Rs 490 crore.
A senior I-T Department official said the public list is aimed to make people aware so that they can help the department in nabbing these defaulters if they have any information about them.
The notice also carried a disclaimer that the "entries in the list are specific to the tax arrear/assessment year mentioned and the tax defaulter's address, business, shareholding and management may have changed" now.
It added that the amount of default "shall further increase" after due interest is levied on it.
The department has carried out this exercise over the last few years and had named 96 such entities which have huge tax liabilities on them but they have either gone non-traceable or have shown no assets for recovery.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body of the I-T department, had a few years ago, adopted the strategy of bringing out the names of chronic defaulters in public domain and had also begun posting these names on its official website.