Tax authorities to catch non-filers
Bhumesh Verma 30 Jan 2019

Tax authorities to catch non-filers

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide ….

Indian taxmen are getting smarter and the days when filing income-tax return (ITR) was an exception than the norm are all but gone.

ITR filing is mandatory for individuals having income above the exempted income limit. It was usual for some individuals to file ITR only in the years when there was substantial income difficult to hide or get away with and then ignore / forget in later years.

Central Board of Direct Taxes has a Non-filers Monitoring System (NMS) to track persons who carry high value transactions but do not file tax returns. 

Now, with more than adequate PAN linkage within the Indian financial system and through data analysis, the finance ministry has identified a good number of individuals who have carried-out high value transactions in financial year 2017-18 but have still not filed ITR for the same financial year in the Assessment Year 2018-19, going by the recent tweets from the Finance Ministry’s twitter handle. 

Finance Ministry has advised such non-filers to assess their tax liability for Assessment Year 2018-19 and file their ITR or submit an online response explaining non-filing within 21 (twenty one) days. If the online response / explanation offered by a non-filer is found to be satisfactory, it will be end of the matter and the query will be closed online. However, in cases where no ITR is filed nor a response is received from a non-filer, the tax department may initiation appropriate legal proceedings. 

For the last couple of years, the government has been making efforts to bring the non-filers into the ITR filing system with decent amount of success.

It is better to have a wider net of tax payers. Otherwise, those already under the tax net tend to shoulder more burden on them and end up with less net disposable income - whereas those outside go scot-free despite having more income at their disposal.

Historically, widening of tax payers base results in reduction of taxes as there are more people to collect revenue from.

One can hope the government efforts bear fruits and are not mere hype.


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