I-T returns: 3,500 exporters under lens

Economy


NEW DELHI: The government has trained its guns on around 3,500 exporters whose customs records are not matching their income tax returns, while another 3%-odd traders are under the lens due to mismatch in GST filings. On Monday, the Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC) had issued instructions, seeking checks on refund of integrated GST paid to exporters – a step aimed at curbing misuse by a handful of exporters and unlikely to impact genuine players, government sources told TOI.

“We are not opening every consignment or stopping refunds, but there has to be some check on those who are misusing the trust reposed in them. Traders who have clean transactions have nothing to fear and will not face any hardship,” a tax official said.

There are nearly 12 lakh registered exporters and importers with close to 1.5 lakh being active. Of that, only 3,500 are under scrutiny for possible wrongdoing, an officer explained.

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A “financial triangulation”, by matching the GST database with information available with the income tax and customs departments, has helped authorities identify those evading taxes. But the revenue department has now decided to focus on data-mapping to detect wrong-doers without resorting to intrusive methods such as search and seizure operations.

CBIC’s analysis shows that a large part of the problem may be concentrated with small exporters, typically individuals or partnership firms, especially those with few consignments going out. During the last financial year, for instance, 85% of the entities importing goods into the country had less than 24 bills of entry with nearly 60% importing less than five consignments annually. Data from tax authorities also revealed that almost 60% of the active players were individuals and firms.



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