New Delhi: In a startling revelation, the CBDT has reported that 97 percent of Income Tax demand arrears, quantified over Rs 4.66 lakh crore, is "difficult" to be recovered. The total arrears amount to be recovered, stuck because of a variety of reasons like litigation, companies in liquidation, sick companies and untraceable taxpayers, is Rs 4.82 lakh crore.
    
Alarmed by the "precarious" situation, the apex body of the I-T department has initiated a slew of measures to collect these taxes including attachment of bank accounts of defaulters and arrest of 'wilful' evaders under tax laws.
    
"Attention is drawn to the precarious situation arising out of comparison of total arrear demand outstanding and demand difficult to recover.
    
The total arrear demand outstanding as on April 2012 was Rs 4,82,027 crore while the demand difficult to recover as percentral action plan for March 2013 is Rs 4,66,854 crore (97 percent).
    
The situation is alarming and leaves only 3 percent of the demand in the recoverable arena.     "Even more alarming is the situation that less than 5 percent, Rs 2,39,95 crore, of the total arrear demand outstanding (Rs 4.82 crore) could be collected during the 2012-13 fiscal," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a recent communication to its top officers.
    
"The situation is surely not pleasant but the board and the I-T department are geared to pursue these cases vigorously. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has time and again urged the Finance Ministry to minimize this revenue loss sector and steps are being taken. The results will soon show," a senior official who did not want to be named said.

The CBDT fears such huge arrears could "swamp" the I-T department and hence it has decided to track each one of the defaulting assessees and entities diligently to obtain the due taxes.
    
The board has tasked the special I-T recovery cell, created in 2010, to obtain more and more electronic data on people and assessees whose assets and properties are not traceable or have reported zero assets, from the Financial Intelligence Unit (suspicious transaction reports), CIBIL, National Stock Exchange, Registrar of Companies and get classified data on the financial transactions of evaders and defaulters.
    
The I-T, on the instructions of the board in this regard, has also started a Demand Management Fortnight to sort out more and more cases and get more revenue in the light of the fact that the government has asked the department to collect over Rs 6.68 lakh crore in direct taxes during 2013-14, up from Rs 5.65 lakh crore in the previous fiscal.

(Agencies)

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