The Income Tax Department is planning to widen the taxpayer base in the region by conducting awareness programmes to impress upon non-filers on the need to file their returns of income and payment of income tax, said the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax K.V. Chowdary.

Addressing a media conference here on Thursday, he said that the taxpayer base of about 2.75 lakhs for the region was on the lower side and the department has identified 1,14,855 persons as non-filers/stop filers of returns of income. Notices have been sent to 10,000 persons in Visakhapatnam region which comprises Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts.

Apart from these some categories like co-operative societies, Trusts, educational institutions and religious trusts that were not complying with the rules were also identified. He felt that voluntary compliance was a better option as those who respond after filing of notices would be penalised.

He said that over 99 per cent of the returns filed by taxpayers were accepted without calling them to the office or conducting any assessment proceedings. A total of 2,953 returns were, however, scrutinised during the year based on various criteria.

Mr. Chowdary said that that the officers of the region had conducted surveys in 60 cases, resulting in the disclosure of undisclosed income of about Rs.40 crores, and collected Rs.11 crores as tax. Similarly, the TDS wing has conducted surveys in 25 cases and deducted short deduction in a number of cases.

The Investigation Wing conducted searches in 11 groups of cases resulting in seizure of Rs.6.35 crores of unaccounted cash and disclosure of undisclosed income of Rs.79 crores in the region.

He said that while the total target for the region for 2009-10 was Rs1901.54 crores, it had achieved Rs.1636.90 crores. He attributed the shortfall in target to one large taxpayer paying Rs.430 crores this year as against Rs.750 crores in the preceding year.

Returns: Mr. Chowdary said that Visakhapatnam Region had received 2,75,639 returns during the year which was 6,937 more than last year showing a growth of 2.58 per cent. The department has processed 2,07,413 returns during the year as against 1,72,034 during the preceding year. A total of 72,403 refunds involving an amount of Rs.154.05 crores were issued during the year.

When his attention was drawn to the delays in IT refunds, he said that the aggrieved could write a postcard giving their PAN and other details and they would either get the refund or a reply within 10 days as to why their claim was not processed within 10 days.

Commissioners of Income Tax S.S. Mishra and J. Suresh Babu were present.

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