Income tax officers can now reopen tax cases for up to 10 years if search operations reveal undisclosed income and assets of over Rs 50 lakh.
Currently, I-T officers can go back up to 6 years to scrutinise the books of accounts of assesses.According to the memorandum to the Finance Bill 2017, the amendment to the Income Tax Act will take effect from April 1, 2017. This means that the books of accounts of an assessee can be reopened by taxmen back till 2007.
The amendment seeks to check tax evasion where “tangible evidences” in the form of undisclosed investment in assets are found during a search or seizure operation.
It empowers tax officials to issue notices to such assessees up to the 10th assessment year, beyond the 6th assessment year already provided for in the I-T Act.
As per the amendment, notices can be issued if the assessing officer has in his possession books of accounts or other documents or evidence which reveal that the income that has escaped assessment amounts to Rs 50 lakh or more in a year or in aggregate of four assessment years.
The notices can also be issued if the income which escaped assessment is in the form of assets.
“The amended provision of Section 153A shall apply where search under Section 132 is initiated or requisition under Section 132A is made on or after April 1, 2017,” the memorandum said.
In case of undisclosed foreign assets, the government had allowed tax authorities to reopen cases up to 16 years.
The move to extend the period for reopening of tax cases is part of the overall exercise of the government to unearth black money through a host of initiatives.
The government had earlier come out with disclosure schemes for foreign and domestic black money holders. In November, it demonetised high-value bank notes and provided black money holders one last opportunity to disclose unaccounted cash holding in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).