New Delhi, Jan 07 (Agencies): The Income Tax department plans to "immediately capture" on receipt the data of returns filed by taxpayers to enhance their investigation and enforcement action to curb tax evasion and reduce tax gap over the next few years.

The department is also mooting developing a "criminal investigation" system within its establishment to combat terror financing, money laundering, offshore tax evasion and other illegal trades which impact national security.

"Income Tax department intends to use innovative methods to supplement its traditional enforcement tools in order to reduce the tax gap during the strategic plan period 2011-15.

A conscious effort will be made to move towards non-intrusive targeted enforcement tools," the 'Vision 2020' document of the department said.

The 30-page document, which charts out the course of action for the I-T department over next few years, was unveiled recently by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

To achieve this objective, the I-T department will "make internal data available almost on real time basis by capturing data from paper returns immediately after receipt," the document said.

The department also aims at making internal data (of I-T) "robust and current" by including information gathered during enforcement action by the investigation wing and the assessing officers.

The I-T department, will also consider modification of Income Tax Return forms to capture relevant information to facilitate matching of external information, it added.

"This will require the income tax department to deploy considerable resource and energy on criminal investigation. Effective criminal investigation will necessarily include a comprehensive international strategy to combat offshore tax evasion, and fund flows that threaten security of the country."

The roadmap seeks to strategise the policies of the department as new technological development, accelerated globalisation, exchange of information between revenue authorities and the new Direct Tax Code offer both challenges and opportunities.

The department also proposes to hone its cyber forensic skills, keep tab on fund flow relating to money laundering, narcotics and terror and "ensure exemplary enforcement  against abusive schemes and corporate tax frauds."