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Income Tax Officers Announce 17-point Checklist to Track Unaccounted Cash During Demonetisation

I-T Dept issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cash

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income tax
Examination will take place of cash deposits from period April 2015 to November 8, 2016. Pixabay

In a bid to seize illegal cash, the Income Tax Department has issued a 17-point checklist to tax commissioners across the country to track those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation.

In a directive to the Principal Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Principal Director Generals of Income Tax, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that in continuation of the handling of cases related to demonetisation, a verification checklist of cash deposits has been prepared to assist the assessing officers so that deviant cases can be taken up for further study.

The CBDT move is aimed at spreading the department’s net wide and deep to catch those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation.

In this latest directive to tax officers, a 17-point checklist has been created, which has to be updated on the department’s server for further action. All unaccounted cash deposits made between November 9, 2016, and December 31, 2016, will be examined as part of this plan.

The checklist also says that if a taxpayer disputes the amount, the correct amount has to be mentioned after checking with the bank.

The particulars in the checklist are — return filing compliance, the total income of the taxpayer in 2016-17, gross total income (including exempt income) of the taxpayer in FY 2016-17 and percentage of cash deposit to gross total income (including exempt income).

IT Officers
This move is aimed to catch those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation. Pixabay

The assessing officers will have to check on the checklist with regard to the nature of deposit on assessment of the explanation provided by the taxpayer and the quantum of unaccounted deposits as determined by the assessing officers.

On the response side, they have to file if the explanation was acceptable, partially acceptable or not acceptable. The nature of the deposit option could be sale or advance for sale of land or any other capital asset, gift, repayment of loan and cash in hand.

Some other verification checkpoints are whether the quarterly VAT return is revised in the post-demonetisation period, if small part of the cash is deposited in or withdrawn from the bank despite having huge cash in hand, if there are large changes in the purchase and sales figures between the original and the revised VAT returns and if the changes are for genuine reasons.

The assessment procedures as per the checklist are — if the books of the accounts have been rejected, if additions have been made u/s 68 to 69D and if tax is calculated as per section 115BBE and if penalty u/s 271AAC has been levied.

income-tax
On November 8, 2016, the Government of India had announced demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. Pixabay

The examination of monthly cash sales and cash deposits lists the period from April 2015 to November 8, 2016.

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On November 8, 2016, the Government of India had announced demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. It also announced the issuance of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 banknotes. (IANS)

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Usage of Unaccounted Cash Still Prevalent in Market: Report

Large cash transactions still present in resale realty market

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Unaccounted cash
Significant usage of unaccounted cash is still prevalent in the secondarly real estate market. Pixabay

It has been three years since demonetisation which was implemented with the aim to curb and eradicate black money. But according to a report released on Wednesday, significant usage of unaccounted cash is still prevalent in the secondarily real estate market.

The report prepared by Anarock Property Consultants said that up to 30 per cent of the total transaction value in the secondary or resale residential maket in India can still be paid in cash.

However, the primary sales market in tier-I cities offer the least scope for unaccounted wealth in property deals, it said.

“Demonetization in November 2016 sent Indian residential real estate — till then a preferred laundromat for unaccounted wealth — into an almost terminal tailspin. Even three years after DeMo, the battle is only half-won,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman Aof Anarock Property Consultants.

“The secondary or resale residential real estate market still accommodates black money; at least 30 per cent of the total cost of resale property can still be paid in cash. While more and more buyers and sellers prefer official payment routes as a matter of principle, many still use the resale property market to launder untaxed cash,” he added.

Cash in market
Many buyers use the resale property market to launder untaxed cash. Pixabay

As per the report, while the trend in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and the National Capital Region (NCR), which are historically notorious for black money in real estate, has tamed considerably in primary sales, their resale property markets still see cash components.

As much as 20-25 per cent of the total resale property cost can still be “adjusted” with black money, it said, adding that in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, the prevalence of transparent payment routes, even on the resale market, is much higher.

“Unlike the primary sales market, the resale market still lacks strict regulations, making it easier for buyers and sellers to use cash components.

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Also, the primary sales market involves developers with a reputation to protect, while a resale property transaction involves two individuals. The pricing of resale properties also lacks transparency,” the report said.

In the case of direct sales by developers, there are readily-available pricing benchmarks, while in the secondary market, a seller can inflate the price of a property based on location, added features and so on without stating on the books. (IANS)