Coop. sector under IT scanner

Unaccounted money stashed away in the cooperative sector in the State will come under the scrutiny of the Income Tax Department with the Union Finance Ministry intensifying the drive against domestic black money in the country.

Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Kerala) Pranab Kumar Das said that huge deposits and suspicious accounts in the cooperative banks were being scanned by the Income Tax (IT) Department.

The process had already started even before the one-time opportunity for all tax payers to declare their undisclosed income and assets voluntarily under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) ended on September 30. “Most of the district banks have been cooperating with the department in disclosing the huge investment of the customers,” Mr. Das told The Hindu on Saturday.

However, he said some of the cooperative banks and societies were resisting against disclosing their assets citing that they had complied with KYC norms and tax-related details such as PAN cards.

Safe haven

“Cooperative banks and societies might have become a safe haven for black money. But the department is also trying to convince the banks the need to track the income of their depositors. Most of them are ignorant of the rules and the Supreme Court order in this regard,” he said.

An estimated total deposit in the cooperative sector in the State could be Rs.1.5 lakh crore, including those in urban cooperatives banks, primary agriculture credit societies and credit cooperatives.

Either tax had not been paid or the amount remained hidden from the IT Department on about 30 per cent of this income, the Union Ministry sources said.

Mr. Das, who holds charge of six offices in the State, said that an apprehension had been created that the accounts in cooperative banks would be frozen by the IT Department which was not correct. “There is nothing to be afraid of for depositors who pay tax and had come clean by paying tax during the IDS period, ” he said.

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