‘Operation Clean Money’ has been hitting the headlines in newspapers and news channels but what is it? It is a part of an ambitious drive by the Union Finance Ministry to nab the tax evaders and to bring the illegal money in the taxable income net.
The Operation Black money is a crusade against black money which started on 8th November 2016, had 18 lakh people under its radar whose transactions didn’t appear synonymous with their income profiles. Simply put, they were spending more than their income would have allowed them. Due to the demonetization initiated by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, there was a fall in the number of cash transactions and increase in digital payments. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, it resulted in the growth of 22 percent in e-filing returns which accounts to 17.92 lakh new taxpayers!! They could not evade paying tax because they had to compulsorily make online transactions which they have been running from a long time. As a result, demonetization witnessed around 16,398 crores of undisclosed income.
After the successful completion of the first phase, Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley launched the second phase of the Clean Money operation on 16th May in the form of a portal with the same name which claims to have as many as 91 lakh people in their scrutiny radar. The income tax department is done waiting for the tax evaders to voluntarily come and disclose their income and are now set to get into action. During the demonetization drive, the department has collected a huge amount of data through easy cross references and is ready to scrutinize it to find out the people who have evaded paying the tax. The people under radar would be informed via SMS and email and would be prompted to fill in their explanations in the portal. If the department feels that the reason is justified and the expenditure matches their incomes, the matter will be closed. However if it doesn’t, then the concerned party would be progressed to the next step of investigation. Thus it is going to be a friend to an honest taxpayer but a nemesis to the evader.
In the press release the government stated that the website will have the following features:-
- It will act as one stop information desk for the citizens offering them step to step guide, FAQs, user manuals, easy reference guides and toolkit for the verification process of the deposits made during the demonetization period.
- It also endeavors to create an awareness amongst the citizens. They would be encouraged to take a pledge in support of the Clean Money Operation and would be asked to contribute to the cause by educating others about it. It also aims to request the participants to share their experiences and provide feedbacks to improve the facility.
- The website will share the status reports and analysis reports on the taxpayers’ cash deposit data and hence will enable the tax administration to be clear and transparent.
The government has however clarified that it won’t be shaming the taxpayers who have disclosed their illegal money and protect their name and reputation in the society.