The Finance Bill, 2017 as passed in the Lok Sabha gives income tax authorities unprecedented powers with regard to raids, and search and seizure of property.
Of the many amendments made to multiple Acts through this Money Bill, which was passed on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha, the amendment to section 132 of the Income Tax Act empowers the taxman to not disclose to any person or even an Appellate Tribunal as to why a raid is conducted.
“For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the reason to believe, as recorded by the income-tax authority under this sub-section, shall not be disclosed to any person or any authority or the Appellate Tribunal,” states the amendment. The phrase ‘reason to believe’ is now all an income tax official needs to raid a person’s property. Moreover, this section can be applied retrospectively from 1962 onwards, i.e., assessment can be done for persons raided from April 1, 1962.
And property can be confiscated from persons from April 1, 1975 onwards. Income Tax officials can also attach properties of any person that they choose to raid. All the official has to do, according to The Finance Bill, is give in writing that he is “satisfied that for the purpose of protecting the interest of revenue, it is necessary so to do.”
Along with the linking of Aadhaar numbers to PAN details, this new law gives tax authorities to raid at will, and without consequences.