Millennium Post

Don’t coerce assessees to falsely admit income: CBDT to I-T dept

Taking cognizance of a number of complaints from assessees who said they were "coerced" by I-T officials to admit having black money, the CBDT has issued a stern warning to the taxmen asking them to "strictly avoid" indulging in acts which later embarrass the entire department.

The CBDT said any admission of unaccounted money should be done only when there is strong and credible evidence and not under pressure. "Instances/complaints of undue influence/coercion have come to notice of the CBDT that some assessees were coerced to admit undisclosed income during searches/surveys conducted by the department. It is also seen that many such admissions are retraced in the subsequent proceedings since the same are not backed by credible evidence.

"Such actions defeat the very purpose of search/survey operations as they fail to bring the undisclosed income to tax in a sustainable manner leave alone levy of penalty or launching of prosecution. Further, such actions show the department as a whole and officers concerned in poor light," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in its latest directive to the I-T department.

CBDT, the apex policy making body of the tax department, has issued the latest order to all principal chief commissioners and heads of investigation and intelligence units of the department. "...the board (CBDT) has emphasized upon the need to focus on gathering evidences during search/survey and to strictly avoid obtaining admission of undisclosed income under coercion/undue influence," the CBDT said in the directive, accessed by PTI.  Officials privy to deliberations in the CBDT in this regard said a number of secret and named complaints were received by the board about such practices being deployed by tax officials, and after these were "probed", the allegations were found to be correct in a number of cases.

"In some cases, the board saw that a party which had admitted to evading crores of rupees during raids retracted their stand and went in for litigation thereby inviting the stricture of courts and wrath of the top brass of the Finance Ministry," they said.

The board said any such act of exerting undue influence or coercion done by tax officials against a party being raided or brought under search operations will be viewed "adversely."

The CBDT has asked the heads of all investigative and snoop units of the I-T department spread across the country to "closely observe/oversee the actions of the officers functioning" under them and check against any deviation from these set norms.

CBDT inks its first bilateral APA... with Japan firm

Tax authority Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Friday signed a bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) with a Japanese company.

"This is India's first bilateral APA. The APA is for a period of five years," an official statement said.
APAs will improve investment climate in the country, it said, adding the APA has been finalised in a period of about one-and-a-half years, which is shorter than time normally taken in finalising APAs internationally. The scheme has been introduced to bring about certainty and uniformity in transfer pricing matters of multi-national companies and reducing litigation. In the context of growing economic ties between Japan and India, APA is expected to generate positive sentiments among Japanese investors in India.
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