The CBDT has identified 12.19 lakh assessees as its ‘high priority’ segment

Enthused by the ongoing initiative against non-filers of tax returns yielding rich dividends, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, on Tuesday, asked Income Tax Department officials to concentrate on the targeted segment of defaulters in their effort to widen the tax base and achieve the goal of mopping up Rs.6.68 lakh crore through direct taxes during the current fiscal year.

Widen base

Addressing top officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) who have assembled here at a two-day annual conference for deliberations on ways and means of widening the tax base to augment revenue collections, Mr. Chidambaram said: “Tax officials should target non-filers and stop-filers to widen the tax base and tax collections”.

With its focus on ‘non-filers’ and ‘stop-filers’ of I-T returns, the CBDT has identified 12.19 lakh such assessees as its “high priority” segment and has already issued reminder letters to about 1.75 lakh individuals asking them to declare their “true” income and pay the tax dues during the current fiscal.

Quality assessment

In this regard, the Finance Minister asked the taxmen to “make quality assessments and issue quality orders along with speed”, especially since the authorities were now equipped with the latest data on cash transaction reports (CTRs) of individual assesses based on modern technology which was a far superior mechanism as far as tax collections were concerned.

“We are in favour of intelligence and technology-based tax collection system which is both non-intrusive and non-evasive,” Mr. Chidambaram said while referring to the CBDT’s assurance to him on not only achieving the revenue collection target set for 2013-14 but also exceeding it through their collective effort.

Additional posts

With the Union Cabinet recently clearing a proposal to create 20,751 additional posts in the I-T Department in various cadres as a measure to scale up human resources, the CBDT expressed confidence on taking up the challenge of mopping up Rs.6.68 lakh crore in direct taxes this fiscal as compared to Rs.5.59 lakh crore in 2012-13.

“The budget estimate of 2013-14 is daunting compared to last year. We are expected to grow at the rate exceeding 19 per cent…We have restructured the department.

“The new team fortified with the re-energised workforce shall deliver and come up to the expectations,” CBDT Chairperson Poonam Kishore Saxena.

Ms. Saxena reminded her top officials that although 2012-13 was a difficult year in view of the “adverse fiscal matrix, the challenging target and limitations of resources [which] had made the road difficult,” the mop-up results “have largely been fair and reasonable” with a collection of nearly Rs.5.59 lakh crore.

This, the CBDT chief said, was possible with clear guidance from the Finance Minister.

“This Department last year worked in the backdrop of his policy objective enunciated in the statement of August 6, 2012, that is, clarity in tax laws, stable tax regime, non-adversarial tax administration and fair mechanism for dispute resolution.”

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