Sharp increase in prosecutions of tax evaders by Income Tax Department
The Income Tax Department has accorded the highest priority to tackle the menace of black money. With this objective in mind, the Department has initiated
criminal prosecution proceedings in a large number of cases of tax offenders and evaders.
Prosecutions have been initiated for various offences including wilful attempt to evade tax or payment of any tax; wilful failure in filing returns of income; false statement in verification and failure to deposit the tax deducted/collected at source or inordinate delay in doing so, among other defaults. During FY 2017-18(upto the end of November 2017), the Department filed Prosecution complaints for various offences in 2225 cases compared to 784 for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding year, marking an increase of 184%. The number of complaints compounded by the Department during the current
FY (upto the end of November, 2017) stands at 1052 as against 575 in the corresponding period of the immediately preceding year, registering a rise of 83%. Compounding of offences is done when the defaulter admits to its offence and pays the compounding fee as per stipulated conditions.
Due to the decisive and focused action taken by the Department against tax evaders, the number of defaulters convicted by the courts has also registered a sharp increase during the current fiscal. 48 persons were convicted for various offences during the current year(upto the end of November, 2017) as compared to 13 convictions for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding year, marking an increase of 269%.
A few illustrative cases are highlighted.
i. A Dehradun Court convicted one defaulter for holding undisclosed foreign bank account and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment for wilful attempt to evade tax and to two years for false statement in verification alongwith monetary penalty for each default respectively.
ii. The Court of CJM, Jalandhar convicted a cloth trader with 2 years rigorous imprisonment for trying to cheat the Department by fabricating affidavits and gift deeds, in connivance with his advocate and witness, with the motive of evading tax. The Court, while awarding the sentence to the trader, also simultaneously awarded one year's imprisonment to the advocate notarizing the forged affidavit and also to the witness for aiding and abetting the serious offence.
iii. In Bengaluru, the MD of a company engaged in infrastructure projects was found guilty of non-deposit of TDS of over Rs. 60 lakh(within the prescribed