New Delhi: Investigation by the Income Tax agency has revealed that a huge amount of cash was deposited in accounts of tribals during the demonetisation that has been siphoned off.
A senior tax official is quoted as informing this writer on the condition of anonymity. During the election monitoring, many tribals informed the officials of huge cash dealing or cash loans given and taken.
The Income Tax department is reaching out to the tribals of the North-East region for Benami and Blackmoney Act and for tax evasion. The officials have found that Scheduled Tribes of North East states are misusing the Section 10(26) of Income Tax Act, which gives them an exemption of tax from any income source in the areas of North East Region or by way of dividend or interest on securities.
North East Region comprises of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
According to the official, people belonging to the tribal community were found owning property in Guwahati, Agartala, Imphal, Delhi etc and receiving rent but did not file their tax returns.
The official stated that several people from the community had fixed deposits in banks in Guwahati and Delhi, on which they had been earning interest but were not filing returns.
It was also learnt that no tax was deducted on a salary of even non-tribal person posted in tribal areas. Hotel chains, owned by partnership firms, neither were filing returns nor paying taxes.
According to the IT official, there is the wrong perception among the tribals that they are exempted from income tax. He further cleared the air that even tribals are not exempted from penal consequences of repayment of cash loans taken of over Rs 20,000.
The official clarified that the penal consequences on cash payment of more than Rs 2 Lakhs for any purpose or investment, including land or vehicle, are also not exempted.
He further added that cash payments of more than Rs 10,000 are not exempted.
As per another official, looking after the issues of the North-East region, the IT department is going slow on tribals as they need to be aware of the Income Tax laws and their liabilities. the IT department motive is to change the perception of tribals, the official added.