Income Tax Department
Ayakar vibhag
Parent Agency - Ministry of Finance
Income Tax Department
Agency overview
Formed1860; 164 years ago (1860)[1][2]
JurisdictionGovernment of India
HeadquartersNorth Block, Secretariat Building, New Delhi
Employees46,000 (2016–17 est.)[3]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent departmentGovernment of India
Website

The Income Tax Department (also referred to as IT Department; abbreviated as ITD) is a government agency undertaking direct tax collection of the government of India. It functions under the Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance.[5] The Income Tax Department is headed by the apex body Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The main responsibility of the Income Tax Department is to enforce various direct tax laws, most important among these being the Income-tax Act, 1961, to collect revenue for the government of India. It also enforces other economic laws such as the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988,[6] and the Black Money Act, 2015.[7]

The Income Tax Act, 1961, has a wide scope and empowers ITD to levy tax on the income of individuals, firms, companies, local authorities, societies, or other artificial juridical persons.[8] Thus, the Income Tax Department influences businesses, professionals, NGOs, income earning citizens, and local authorities, among others. The act empowers the Income Tax Department to tax international businesses and professionals and therefore ITD deals in all matters of double taxation avoidance agreements and various other aspects of international taxation such as transfer pricing. Combating tax evasion and tax avoidance practices is a key duty of ITD to ensure constitutionally guided political economy. One measure to combat aggressive tax avoidance is the general anti avoidance rule (GAAR).[9]

History

Ancient times

Taxation has been one of the key function of the sovereign state since ancient times. In Manusmriti, the Manu stated that the king has the sovereign power to levy and collect tax according to sastras.[10]

लोके च करादिग्रहणो शास्त्रनिष्ठः स्यात् । — Sandeep Baldi, Shyam Nagar 128, Manusmriti [10] (It is in consonance with sastras to collect taxes from citizen.)

In Bodhayana Dharmasutras, it is mentioned that the king received 1/6th of income from his subjects, which was legally termed as tax. In lieu of this tax, the king had a duty to protect his subjects.[10]

According to Kautilya's Arthashastra – an ancient treatise on the study of economics, the art of governance and foreign policy – artha had a much wider significance than wealth. According to him, the power of the government depended upon the strength of its treasury. He stated: "From the treasury comes the power of the government, and the earth, whose ornament is the treasury, is acquired by means of the treasury and army." In Raghuvamsh, Kalidas, eulogising King Dalip, said, "it was only for the good of his subjects that he collected taxes from them just as the sun draws moisture from the earth to give it back a thousand time."[11]

Modern times

The 19th century saw the establishment of British rule in India. Following the mutiny of 1857, the British government faced an acute financial crisis. To fill up the treasury, the first Income-tax Act was introduced in February 1860 by James Wilson, who became British-India's first finance minister.[11] The act received the assent of the governor general on 24 July 1860, and came into effect immediately. It was divided into 21 parts consisting of no less than 259 sections. Income was classified under four schedules: i) income from landed property; ii) income from professions and trade; iii) income from securities, annuities and dividends; and iv) income from salaries and pensions. Agricultural income was subject to tax.[11]

Subsequently, many laws were brought to streamline income tax laws. For example, the Super-Rich Tax was introduced in 1918, and the new Income-tax Act was passed in 1918. But most important among all these were the Income-tax Act of 1922. This act of 1922 marked an important change from the act of 1918 by shifting the administration of the income tax from the hands of the provincial government to the central government. Another remarkable feature of this act was that the rates were to be enunciated by the annual finance acts instead of in the basic enactment.[12] Again, the new Income-tax Act came in 1939.

Contemporary times

See also: The Income-tax Act, 1961

The 1922 act was amended not less than twenty nine times between 1939 and 1956. A tax on capital gains was imposed for the first time in 1946, although the concept of ‘capital gains’ has been amended many times by later amendments.[12] In 1956, Mr. Nicholas Kaldor was given the responsibility of investigating the Indian tax system in light of the revenue requirement of the second five-year plan (1956–1961). He submitted an exhaustive report for a coordinated tax system and therefore, the result was the enactment of several taxation acts, viz., the wealth-tax Act 1957, the Expenditure-tax Act, 1957 and the Gift-tax Act, 1958.[12]

The Direct Taxes Administration Enquiry Committee, under the chairmanship of Shri Mahavir Tyagi, submitted its report on 30 November 1959, and the recommendations made therein took shape of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The 1961 act came in to force with effect from 1 April 1962 by replacing the Indian Income Tax Act, 1922, which had remained in operation for 40 years. The present law of income tax is governed by the Income Tax Act, 1961, which has 298 sections and four schedules and is applicable to whole of India, including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.[12]

Administration

Administration in the Income Tax Department (ITD) is run through a statutory body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), at the apex level and 18 territory-based regional headquarters at the field offices level. Besides these are 10 specialised directorates within the Income Tax Department, most extensive and famous among these being the Directorate of Investigation.

CBDT

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. The CBDT provides inputs for the policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for the administration of direct tax laws through the IT Department. The CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex officio capacity also function as a division of the ministry dealing with matters relating to the levy and collection of direct taxes. The CBDT is headed by a chairman and also comprises six members, all of whom are ex officio special secretaries to the government of India.

The chairman and members of the CBDT are selected from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), whose members constitute the top management of the IT Department. The chairman and every member of CBDT are responsible for exercising supervisory control over specialised functional categories at field offices of the IT Department. Various functions and responsibilities of the CBDT are distributed amongst the chairman and six members, with only fundamental issues reserved for collective decision by the CBDT. The areas for collective decision by the CBDT include policy regarding discharge of statutory functions of the CBDT and of the union government under the various direct tax laws.[13]

Regional headquarters

At present Income Tax Department (ITD) field offices are divided into 18 regions with territorial jurisdiction and one region for international taxation. As required for efficient and effective administration, these regions have some administrative autonomy to carry out duties assigned by CBDT.

List of ITD regions[14][15]
Serial No. Region (headed by PrCCIT) Sub-regions (headed by CCsIT) Headquarter city
1 Gujarat CCsIT, Ahmedabad-1, 2, TDS, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, DGIT (Inv.), Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
2 Karnataka & Goa CCsIT, Bengaluru-1 & 2, TDS, Panaji, DGIT (Inv.), Bengaluru Bengaluru
3 Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh CCsIT, Raipur, Indore, DGIT (Inv.), Bhopal Bhopal
4 Odisha None Bhubaneswar
5 North West Region CCsIT Amritsar, Ludhiana, Shimla, Panchkula, DGIT (Inv.), Chandigarh Chandigarh
6 Tamil Nadu & Puducherry CCsIT, Chennai-1 to 4, TDS, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, DGIT (Inv.), Chennai Chennai
7 Delhi CCsIT Delhi-1 to 9, TDS, Central, Exemptions, DsGIT (Inv.), Delhi, (Risk Assessment), (I&CI) Delhi
8 North East Region CCIT, Shillong Guwahati
9 Andhra Pradesh & Telangana CCsIT, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, DGIT (Inv.), Hyderabad Hyderabad
10 Rajasthan CCsIT, Jodhpur, Udaipur DGIT (Inv.), Jaipur Jaipur
11 UP (West) & Uttarakhand CCsIT, Ghaziabad, Dehradun Kanpur
12 Kerala CCsIT, Thiruvananthapuram, DGIT (Inv.), Kochi Kochi
13 West Bengal & Sikkim CCsIT, Kolkata-1 to 6, TDS, DGIT (Inv.), Kolkata Kolkata
14 UP (East) CCsIT, Allahabad, Bareilly, DGIT (Inv.), Lucknow Lucknow
15 Mumbai CCsIT, Mumbai-1 to 11, TDS, Central-1, 2, DGIT (Inv.), Mumbai, Mumbai
16 Nagpur None Nagpur
17 Bihar & Jharkhand CCIT, Ranchi, DGIT (Inv.), Patna Patna
18 Pune CCsIT, Pune, Thane, Nasik, DGIT (Inv.), Pune Pune
19 International Taxation CCsIT (International Taxation), Bengaluru, Mumbai Delhi

Directorates

Directorates are meant to take responsibility of specialised functions. There are 10 specialised directorates within the Income Tax Department, most extensive and famous among these being Directorate of Investigation.

List of ITD directorates[16][15]
Serial No. Directorate Head of directorate Headquarter city
1 Investigation 18 Director Generals of Income Tax (DGsIT) At respective regional headquarters
2 Systems Principal Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
3 Legal & Research Principal Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
4 Training Principal Director General of Income Tax NADT, Nagpur
5 Intelligence & Criminal Investigation (I&CI) Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
6 Vigilance Principal Director General of Income Tax/CVO New Delhi
7 Administration & Tax Payer Services (TPS) Principal Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
8 Logistics Principal Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
9 Human Resource Development (HRD) Principal Director General of Income Tax New Delhi
10 Risk Assessment Director General of Income Tax New Delhi

Good governance by ITD

The Income Tax Department of the government of India is a leader in good governance. Since large portion of population interacts with department on a yearly basis hence good governance by ITD has improved citizen satisfaction with government functioning.[17] A very well known model of good governance, Sevottam, is being implemented by the Income Tax Department.

Sevottam

See also: Sevottam

The Income Tax Department is a leader in implementing Sevottam,[18] which is certification of quality of public service delivery in India. The term Sevottam comes from the Hindi words Seva and Uttam and supposedly means excellence in service delivery. It involves the identification of the services delivered to the citizens, quality of service, its objective, improvement of quality, by using innovative methods for developing business process and more informative with the help of information technology. The citizen-centric approach includes the following three components:[19]

Ayakar Seva Kendra (ASK)

Ayakar Seva Kendra (ASK; translated as Income Tax Help Centre) is an integrated model that provides single window system for registration of all applications including those or redressal of grievances as well as receipt of paper return.[25] The assesses can approach ASK and pose all kinds of queries. ASK is available at almost all Income Tax Department offices across the country.

Tax Return Preparer Scheme

Launched in 2006 by the Income Tax Department, the Tax Return Preparer Scheme assists small and marginal taxpayers in preparing and filing their tax returns by creating a company of ‘Tax Return Preparers’. Tax Return Preparers are experts in income tax law and in filing of income tax returns. They can charge a maximum fee of Rs. 250, or sometimes nothing.[17]

Simplified Income Tax Return Filing

Over the years income tax return filing has been made more simple, convenient, and smart through use of technology. This includes following:[17]

Law enforcement powers of ITD

This section needs expansion with: more explanation on enforcement actions. You can help by adding to it. (August 2019)

Taxation law is not only very complex as it requires specialised knowledge and expertise to implement, but also it necessitates various kinds of deterrent actions to ensure compliance by taxpayers.

Assessment

Assessment is done to ensure correct estimation of total taxable income of an assessee (i.e. taxpayer) and it determines amount of tax to be payable by (or to be refunded to) assessee. Most income tax returns filed are processed by the Centralised Processing Center in Bengaluru[27] on the basis of the information provided by the taxpayer. Such automatic processing of returns is called as "summary assessment" and is carried out in accordance with sub-section (1) of section 143 of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

  1. When the Income Tax Department requires clarifications or supporting documents on a return filed by the taxpayer, the taxpayer is served a notice under sub-section (2) of section 143 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to provide evidence in support of the return filed by the taxpayer.
  2. When the Income Tax Department requires clarifications from the taxpayer on certain issues for a better assessment of the income of the taxpayer or requiring the taxpayer to file a return of income if he has not filed one already, a notice under sub-section (1) of section 142 is issued to the taxpayer.

After the notices mentioned in points (1) and (2) above are complied with, assessment is made under sub-section (3) of section 143.

When no compliance is received after the lapse of the time period provided by the assessing officer, assessment is made under section 144.

Such assessments are called "scrutiny assessments."

Penalties and Prosecutions

  1. Penalties: These are financial punishments for non-compliance with any specific provision of the Income-tax Act,[28] and include penalties for not complying with the notices of the assessing officer.
  2. Prosecution: Certain actions of taxpayers, for example wilful evasion of tax, are considered as criminal offence by the Income-tax Act and hence these offences result in prosecution. Such offences are considered criminal because they are deemed to be offences perpetrated against the state, as against offences against a person, which results in a civil prosecution.[29] A prosecution is a stricter action than a penalty, and while a penalty only is monetary in nature, a prosecution involves serving jail time for the offences.[28]

Surveys

The department can survey any business premises during the time such place is open for business for physical verification of records and other valuables. Section 133A of the Income Tax Act 1961 provides the department to conduct surveys.

Search and Seizure

The department can search residential and business premises of any taxpayer to check records and valuables to ensure that no evasion of tax is taking place. Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 provides the department the power to conduct search and seizure.

Both the survey action and the search and seizure action are known in the general parlance as "raids."

Recent law enforcement actions by ITD

This section needs expansion with: details of most extensive operations by ITD. You can help by adding to it. (August 2019)

Demonetization period

The finance ministry instructed all revenue intelligence agencies to join the crackdown on forex traders, hawala operators and jewellers besides tracking movement of demonetised currency notes.[30]

Income Tax departments raided various illegal tax-evasive businesses in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and other cities that traded with demonetised currency.[31] The Enforcement Directorate issued several FEMA notices to forex and gold traders.[30] Large sum of cash in defunct notes were seized in different parts of the country.[32][33][34][35][36] In Chhattisgarh liquid cash worth of 4.4 million (US$55,000) was seized.[37] In December 2016, the Income Tax department received more than 4000 emails, on black money holders, in India, within 3 days, when Income Tax Department, issued in public notice an email to report black money[38]

Huge amounts of cash in the form of new notes were seized all over the country after the demonetisation.[39][40]

In December 2016, over ₹4 crore in new ₹2000 notes were seized from four persons in Bangalore,[41][42][43] ₹33 lakh in ₹2000 notes were recovered from Manish Sharma, an expelled BJP leader in West Bengal,[44][45] and ₹1.5 crore was seized in Goa.[46] 900 notes of the new ₹2000 denomination were seized from a BJP leader in Tamil Nadu.[47] Around ₹10 crore in new ₹2000 notes were seized in Chennai.[48]

As of 10 December 2016, new notes worth ₹242 crore were seized by the Income Tax Department.[49]

Raids on unrecognised political parties

The Income Tax department conducted raids and surveys in various states in separate cases related to alleged tax evasion, violation of FCRA violation and illicit funding of registered unrecognised political parties.[50]

Criticism

The government data reveals that the IT Department has a very low conviction rate.[51]

The Income Tax Department has been alleged to have been used to target people and organizations critical of the government.[52][53]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "July 24 to be celebrated as Income Tax Day". The Times of India. 11 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Central govt to hire 2.8 lakh more staff, police, I-T & customs to get lion's share". The Times of India. 2 March 2017.
  4. ^ "JB Mohapatra named acting Chairman of CBDT". 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Department of Revenue- Functions". Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  6. ^ "THE BENAMI TRANSACTIONS (PROHIBITION) AMENDMENT ACT, 2016" (PDF). The Gazette of India. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  7. ^ "THE BLACK MONEY (UNDISCLOSED FOREIGN INCOME AND ASSETS) AND IMPOSITION OF TAX ACT, 2015" (PDF). The Gazette of India. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Who is liable to pay income tax". Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Union Budget 2012: GAAR empowers I-T department to deny tax benefits to 'companies'", The Times Of India, 16 March 2012
  10. ^ a b c Jha S M (1990). Taxation and Indian Economy. New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications.((cite book)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ a b c "The evolution of income-tax". www.thehindubusinessline.com.
  12. ^ a b c d "EVOLUTION OF INCOME TAX SYSTEM IN INDIA" (PDF). Shodhganga.
  13. ^ "Information to be published under section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005" (PDF). Central Board of Direct Taxes, Government of India. 10 December 2014. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ "PrCCIT Regions" (PDF). www.incometaxindia.gov.in.
  15. ^ a b "Who We Are?". www.incometaxindia.gov.in.
  16. ^ "Directorates" (PDF). www.incometaxindia.gov.in.
  17. ^ a b c d e "14 Interesting Initiatives by Income Tax Department that are making Tax Payers' Life Easy". 22 November 2015.
  18. ^ "OUR SEVOTTAM JOURNEY" (PDF). Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  19. ^ "Sevottam for Ensuring Excellence in Services". PIB.
  20. ^ "Citizen's Charter 2014" (PDF).
  21. ^ "E-Nivaran is Modi's gift to tax payers: How does the scheme work?". Business Standard.
  22. ^ "The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley Launches The "E-Sahyog" Pilot Project of The Income-Tax Department to Facilitate Taxpayers". PIB.
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  28. ^ a b "Penalties and Prosecutions". incometaxindia.gov.in. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  29. ^ "Difference between Civil Law and Criminal Law in India & Their Comparisons". BYJUS. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  30. ^ a b "Enforcement Directorate issues FEMA notices to forex, gold traders". The Economic Times. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
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  32. ^ "Rs. 13.22 lakh in cash seized". The Hindu. 11 November 2016.
  33. ^ "Rs 4 Crore-Worth Scrapped Notes Seized From Maharashtra Trader".
  34. ^ "Rs 76 lakh cash seized from vehicle in Mandi – Times of India". The Times of India. 12 November 2016.
  35. ^ "Madhya Pradesh: Rs 4 crore-worth scrapped bank notes seized from trader". 12 November 2016.
  36. ^ "Rs. 73 lakh cash seized from two cars near Nashik". The Hindu. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  37. ^ "Chhattisgarh: Cash worth Rs 44 lakhs in Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes seized from a man". Daily News & Analysis. 11 November 2016.
  38. ^ "Black money, informers crosses 4000". The Times of India. 20 December 2016.
  39. ^ "Rs 111.3 crore and counting: Here is a conservative list of new cash seizures reported post-demonetisation". 10 December 2016.
  40. ^ "I-T department seizes Rs 130 crore cash, jewellery post demonetisation". 6 December 2016.
  41. ^ "New notes worth Rs 4.7 crore seized in I-T raids in Bengaluru – Times of India". The Times of India. December 2016.
  42. ^ "Bengaluru: In Indias biggest seizure since Nov 8, Rs 5.7 crore found – all in new Rs 2000 notes".
  43. ^ "Bengaluru: Rs 2000 notes worth over Rs 4 crore seized by Income Tax dept". 1 December 2016.
  44. ^ "After BJP leader Manish Kumar's arrest, Babul Supriyo washes hands off all linkages, calls it 'wasted time'". 7 December 2016.
  45. ^ Team, BS Web (7 December 2016). "Several BJP men caught with crores; Karnataka biggest hotspot for illegal cash transactions" – via Business Standard.
  46. ^ IANS. "Demonetisation: Rs 1.5 crore in new Rs 2,000 notes seized in Goa, two held". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  47. ^ "Over 900 new Rs 2000 notes seized from TN BJP leader who backed demonetisation". 2 December 2016.
  48. ^ "Biggest seizure of ₹142 cr cash, gold post demonetisation". Deccan Herald.
  49. ^ "Cash crunch? Rs 242 crore in new currency seized after demonetisation". 9 December 2016.
  50. ^ "I-T department conducts pan-India raids against unrecognised political parties, linked funding". The New Indian Express. 7 September 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  51. ^ Srivas, Anuj (3 March 2020). "IT Dept and ED Raids Are at an All-Time High, but Convictions Remain Elusive". The Wire. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  52. ^ "11 Raids In A Month On Opposition, Tax Department Says Can't Give Details". NDTV.com. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  53. ^ "Income Tax department surveys Newslaundry, NewsClick offices on charges of alleged tax evasion". Zee News. Retrieved 28 September 2023.