Written byPallabi Chatterjee
After several tax-evasion cases by salaried employees emerged in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Ludhiana, the income-tax department issued a caution recently asking tax payers not to under-report their income or claim incorrect deductions.
The advisory also warned people against taking 'help' from "unscrupulous intermediaries", referring to a January case, where employees of Bengaluru-based companies like IBM and Vodafone filed wrong tax-returns through a fake CA.
Nagesh Shastri, a Bengaluru-based 'CA', is accused of filing 1,010 revised tax-returns and claiming refunds illegally (around Rs. 18cr) for 250 taxpayers for 3-assessment years.
His clients working in companies like IBM, Vodafone, Infosys, and Thomson Reuters have blamed Shastri, adding that he charged 10% of returns received by showing 'loss from house property'.
They showed CBI, the investigating agency, text messages as evidence.
When you report loss from house property, it means you are incurring loss from occupying or renting out the house you own against the interest paid on housing loan. This can help you reduce tax liability and ensures a refund.
CBI also suspects several Infosys staff and I-T officials to be involved in the tax fraud orchestrated by Shastri.
Infosys, which handles e-returns of the income tax department, validates the returns in bulk, and then the 'assessing Officers of the I-T department posted in CPC give the approval for release of refunds'.
So Shastri was helped by officials of both the organizations, said CBI.
The IT department had issued a caution in January as well, where it asked tax advisors to follow the IT-act only.
"In cases of such wrong claims by the government/PSU employees, reference would be made to the concerned vigilance division for action under conduct rules," the IT department had added.
IT department now uses robo audits and scans social media to catch tax evaders.
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