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PM Modi’s Black Money Drive Triggers Steep Rise In Number Of Income Tax Returns Filed

The number of people who filed tax returns surged by 95 lakh as the government turned the heat on black money with demonetisation and various other measures, two top government officials told ET.
The figure was in a presentation made before Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the revenue department’s review on Tuesday.
“There has been an addition of about 95 lakh new taxpayers,” said one of the officials aware of the details of the presentation.
The government has been looking to widen the tax net as barely a little over 1% of the population is said to pay income tax. As many as 5.28 crore returns were e-filed in FY16, a rise of 22% over the previous year. Some returns were filed in paper mode as well.

The income-tax department had launched a crackdown against tax evaders as part of its war against black money. It identified 18 lakh persons who had made bank deposits in old Rs 1,000 and 500 notes after the November 8 demonetisation announcement that didn’t match income profiles.

The department had also unearthed details of high-value purchases during the period. This data was used to identify evaders who had not filed returns despite having income or not having paid tax in line with incomes. Operation Clean Money, in the wake of demonetisation, made details of such individuals available online. This was followed by SMSes and emails seeking explanations. “A substantial chunk of these returns have been filed after the department’s communication,” said another official aware of the department.

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