NEW DELHI: Income Tax officials on Monday searched premises of three groups spread across Rajasthan, Delhi and Mumbai. The search signals resumption of enforcement action by the department, which had kept its focus on covid-related compliance relief in the past few months.
An official statement from the tax department said it has carried out search and survey operations at 20 premises in Jaipur, six in Kota, eight in Delhi and nine in Mumbai, belonging to three groups. The enquiries were about flow of unaccounted wealth into real estate, off the book transactions and suspicious source of funding. The department did not disclose the names of the group.
Mint had reported on 24 April that the department had kept the heat on suspected tax evaders in FY20 with searches on 893 groups till January, relying heavily on data captured from an increasingly digitised economy to profile risky assessees. Many of those searches were on real estate developers, jewellers, hawala dealers, people into liquor and mining businesses and entities into financial services and metal processing units.
Monday’s surveys and searches involved one group that is in the business of hotels, hydro power projects, metals and auto. It is suspected to have invested unaccounted income generated from these businesses into real estate, the tax department said.
The second group which has operations and assets in countries like the UK and the US is in the business of trading in silver and gold jewellery. The main allegation against the group is that a large part of its silver jewellery business is carried out outside the regular books of accounts, the department said. The third group is involved in hotel business. The source of investment in the same remains to be verified, the department said.
With the economy having suffered a serious blow due to the coronavirus pandemic resulting in extension of due dates for various compliance requirements including for tax return filing, the department is likely to face immense pressure in meeting its FY21 tax collection targets. In February, the government had set a direct tax collection target of nearly ₹13.2 trillion for this fiscal.