If you’re worried about what questions your income tax officer will ask about your returns, you can relax a bit. The department has decided to take up fewer tax returns for scrutiny this year. The Central Board of Direct Taxes had issued an internal circular in December 2009, asking commissioners to select fewer cases for scrutiny.
“Now, only 10-20 cases per range can be selected for scrutiny,” said RK Singh, chief commissioner of income tax, Mumbai. He said this notice reduces the number to barely 5% of the original number of cases scrutinised.
An assessing officer can scrutinise tax returns up to September 30, 2010 for income earned between April 2008, and March 31, 2009. Singh hinted that the new instructions would reduce the interface between the income tax department and taxpayers, thus curbing corruption.
It is learnt that currently more than 1,000 cases are selected for scrutiny in each range headed by a commissioner. “Each I-T officer has 200-300 cases for scrutiny. It overburdens all — the taxpayer, the income tax department and us,” said a chartered accountant.
But this doesn’t mean you can get away without paying tax. “In the coming years, the cost of tax evasion is going to increase,” Singh said.
“If information is not reported by you then agencies such as banks, insurance companies and the National Securities Depository Ltd (which issues PAN cards) can give us the information,” Singh added.