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Wednesday 22 January 2020

CBDT urges IT dept to tighten noose on defaulters

The tax department, as per the latest CBDT order, will cull out this information from the Income Tax Return (ITR) of an assessee

New Delhi: The CBDT has directed the Income Tax (I-T) Department to share in “public interest” details of assets and accounts of all such loan defaulters against whom a public sector bank has made a plea to it.

The policy move is aimed to tighten the noose on such entities and extract recovery of public money.

The tax department, as per the latest CBDT order, will cull out this information from the Income Tax Return (ITR) of an assessee.

Central Board of Direct Taxes, which is the policy maker for the I-T department, has issued an order in this context to all its field offices on Wednesday.

It said the order has been issued in public interest after a number of such requests were received by it from public sector banks (PSBs) seeking information of immovable assets of a loan defaulter to effect recovery from them.

“In this context, Board (CBDT) is of the view that sharing of information with PSBs in respect of assets held by defaulters of loans, so as to enable recovery of loans from such defaulters, is in public interest and hence, can be furnished.”

“Besides statement of assets, if requested, information such as details of bank account, sundry debtors of the loan defaulter which may aid recovery of loan by the PSB from the loan defaulter, can also be provided,” the CBDT order, accessed by PTI, said.

This sharing of vital and classified data of an assessee, who is identified as a bank loan defaulter, will be done under section 138 (1)(b) of the I-T Act which states that if a prescribed application is made to the jurisdictional Principal Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner of I-T, he or she can furnish the information if they are satisfied that this sharing will public interest.

The order said the department possesses such information by way of ITR of an individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), having total income in excess of Rs 50 lakh per annum, and is supposed to furnish particulars of assets and corresponding liabilities to the taxman every year under the direct taxes (I-T) law.

It, however, added that the taxman can furnish this data to the banks in respect of the “borrower, mortgager and guarantor only.”

“At the time of supply of such information a confidentiality clause may be included specifying that such information be used only for the purpose of recovery of loan and will not be shared with any other person or agency,” the CBDT said.
An undertaking to this effect shall be obtained from the bank and an officer not below the rank of the branch Manager should sign the document, it said.

The order states that “tax dues” of such a defaulter should also be kept in mind and before the taxman shares such an information with the bank, an undertaking should be obtained from them that they will obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the I-T officer “before appropriation of the surplus amount recovered from sale of immovable or movable assets of the defaulter.”

A number of high-value bank loan frauds have come to fore in the recent past including prominent ones like the Rs 13,000 crore Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi PNB fraud, the Sterling Biotech case, one involving businessman and liquor baron Vijay Mallya among others.

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