NEW DELHI: After the carrot, here comes the stick. The government on Wednesday said it would monitor all cash deposits+ of over Rs 10 lakh made till the end of the year and impose a penalty of up to 200% in case the funds did not tally with an individual’s tax returns. At the same time, it promised that housewives, small businesses and workers depositing Rs 1.5-2 lakh in their accounts would face no harassment.
Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia also warned of tough action against jewellers who sold gold and jewellery at a premium and accepted cash without insisting on the buyer’s permanent account number (PAN). “We are issuing instructions to field authorities to check with all jewellers to ensure that this requirement (of furnishing PAN) is not compromised. Action will be taken against those jewellers who fail to take PAN numbers from buyers. When the cash deposits of jewellers will be scrutinized against the sales made, whether they have taken the PAN number of the buyer or not will also be checked,” he said.
The move has been triggered by reports that jewellers sold gold for hefty premium to the market price in a bid to beat the ban on high value notes+ that kicked in on Wednesday.
The finance ministry statement comes on the eve of banks and post offices opening a window to allow individuals to deposit old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000+ and start withdrawing up to Rs 20,000 a week. On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes+ and said they would be replaced with a new series of Rs 500 notes and a new denomination of Rs 2,000.
“This (deposits of over Rs 10 lakh that do not match with returns) will be treated as a case of tax evasion and the tax amount plus a penalty of 200% of the tax payable would be levied as per section 270(A) of the Income Tax Act,” Adhia said in a statement emailed late on Wednesday evening.
The government will receive daily updates on the number of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes deposited in each bank branch. Under the law, large cash deposits have to be reported to the government. “We will be getting reports of all cash deposited during November 10 to December 30, 2016 above a threshold of Rs 2.5 lakh in every account. The department will match this with income returns filled by the depositors. And, suitable action may follow,” the revenue secretary said.