The Income Tax department's initial assessment has put nearly Rs.4.2 lakh crore of cash deposits by 18 lakh people under the scanner even as it promised to give the benefit of doubt to ensure that honest taxpayers are not harassed by raising queries through a specially-designed online platform.
The department has so far identified these deposits based on its scrutiny of `suspicious' cash deposits of over Rs.5 lakh made between November 10 and December 30.
There are also deposits of Rs.3-5 lakh from those with a poor tax compliance record.
Large deposits were identified through tools deployed by the department in the first phase. Over the next 30-45 days, it is going to intensify the drive having hired external agencies to scan the deposits and tally them with the income tax returns. The department is hoping that data analytics will help it trace the ultimate beneficiary, including those who had resorted to purchasing gold or other tools to use up the demonetised Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes.
While the online platform, which is part of `Operation Clean Money', will ask the identified taxpayers to fill in the details of their cash deposits, including money received from others.
Emails and SMSes seeking explanation about the source of funds will start going out to the 18 lakh people whose details are being put on the e-filing portal.They will be given 10 days to reply and if a response is not received, a notice will be issued.