No transaction can evade taxman’s scrutiny: P.N. Devadasan, Commissioner of Income Tax, Kozhikode.

The Income Tax authorities have urged all those having unaccounted money, including deposits in cooperative banks, to immediately pay their tax and said that no financial transactions could escape the Income Tax Department’s scrutiny since it had the information network to track all financial dealings.

Issuing a stern warning to tax evaders, P.N. Devadasan, Commissioner of Income Tax, Kozhikode, said on Monday that the percentage of tax payers in the five northern districts of the State was only 1.7, which was less than the national average of 2.9 “though in terms of income or prosperity North Kerala is not a backward region.”

The department was gearing up to identify and prosecute tax evaders, the Commissioner said. Nearly 20,000 notices would be issued shortly to those who had been evading payment of income tax. Those who had stashed away funds in cooperative banks and advocates who had not paid tax in full were being identified.

The department had collected information about persons who had constructed houses and buildings exceeding 3,000 sq ft after 2006. Notices were being issued to them as it had been found on preliminary inquiry that most of the money used for these constructions was unaccounted. Owners of such buildings had been advised to pay tax before March 31 to avoid penal action.

The department had found that a substantial part of unaccounted money in the region was kept as deposits in cooperative banks.

An advocate in Taliparamba was found to have deposited Rs.3 crore in 94 accounts in six cooperative banks and a contractor in Kozhikode had Rs.10 crore in a cooperative bank in his and his relatives’ names.

An architect in Kozhikode had purchased 30 demand drafts for Rs.49,000 each on a single day from a private-sector bank and one nationalised bank. The department was taking action against him and the banks.

Supreme Court order

Pointing out that the Supreme Court in a recent order had asked cooperative banks to furnish information about depositors to the Income Tax Department, the Commissioner warned that action would be taken against the banks that failed to comply with the court order.

In a recent crackdown, the Kozhikode Income Tax Commissionerate found out unaccounted income to the tune of Rs.275 crore. “The department has information about many prominent tax evaders and they are all under close observation. They better come forward and pay tax without waiting for action by our department,” the Commissioner said.

The department had also decided to collect information from Court registrars about cases argued by advocates in the past seven years. “It has been found that many advocates are not disclosing their proper income in their income tax returns. This was particularly so in the case of advocates handling land acquisition and motor accident claims tribunal cases,” he said.

Only 2 lakh tax payers

Though the population of Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Kasaragod and Wayanad districts, coming under the jurisdiction of the Kozhikode Income Tax Office, was about Rs.120 lakh, the number of income tax payers was only about 2 lakh, prompting the Income Tax Department to find out if large scale tax evasion was taking place.

Last financial year (2012-13), the Kozhikode Income Tax Commissioner collected Rs.444 crore as income tax. By latest count, it was Rs.372 crore in the current financial year, he said.

The Income Tax Commissioner promised action on refund on claims within two weeks and help through the Ayakar service centres that had been opened to help tax payers in Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.

Rewards up to 5 per cent would be given to those who provided information about tax evaders. Information could be given on the phone number 85470 00030, he said.