I-T shames defaulters, but most are 'untraceable'

-The Times of India

NEW DELHI: In its drive against tax defaulters, the income tax department published a full-page advertisement in newspapers on Saturday naming 29 individuals and companies, asking them to `pay tax arrears immediately'.

Many of these entities are `not traceable' in the department's records or have no assets to recover. The total arrears against them amounts to around Rs 448 crore.

It seems the biggest tax defaulters are yet to come on the radar of the department as the total tax arrears exceeded Rs 8 lakh crore till 2015-16.

In the current list of 29, the biggest tax defaulter is one Irfan Ahmed having arrears of Rs 257 crore, while a few others have defaults of around Rs 2-4 crore against their name. Ahmed, like most others in the list, is `not traceable'. His last address available with the department is Aminabad in Lucknow.

Interestingly , the I-T department had assessed Ahmed's income for four years from 2005-06 to 2008-09 to arrive at his tax obligation, but now it claims that it doesn't know his father's name or what business he operated. The department neither has his PAN number nor is aware of his "last known source of income".

This is the second time that the department has published defaulters list in newspapers in an attempt to name and shame them. But, on both occasions, it had skipped naming defaulters with bigger arrears. A comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report, tabled in Parliament on March 10, shows total tax arrears is to the tune of Rs 8.24 lakh crore, higher than the total direct tax collection of Rs 7.48 lakh crore in 2015-16. The arrears increased from Rs 7 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs 8.24 lakh crore in 2015-16.

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The Times of India, 19 March, 2017, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/i-t-shames-defaulters-but-most-are-untraceable/articleshow/57712265.cms

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