Chennai: Sending a stern message to tax offenders, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram said on Saturday that the government has enough information on economic wrongdoers and warned them of tough action, including arrest.
“Government has to send a message, a stern message, that such violations cannot go unpunished. Therefore, we have arrested them,” he said adding that 10 persons had been arrested recently for alleged service tax default across the country.
The government would also ‘very closely’ focus on sectors prone to chronic service tax evasion such as consultancy, IT and real estate, he said. Chidambaram said he had noticed chronic tax evasion in various cities, for example in Chennai in contract service, maintenance and repair service and sectors such as consultancy, IT, real estate, mining, transport operators, advertisement, manpower and recruitment and security services.
Speaking at an event here, he said the power of “arrest” was used only in cases where an individual had collected Rs.50 lakh and above and does not deposit it in government account.
“Tell me should such a person, be shown any sympathy? The money is not a small amount. He is keeping the money and using it. It is an interest free loan from the government,” he said.
A great deal of information was being shared among government departments with the use of PAN number and other unique numbers.
“We have 360 degree profiles of worst economic offenders. We have dossiers on the worst economic offenders. Because of limitations in the department, we cannot reach to every offender. That does not mean we do not know that there are no offenders,” he said.
“Ultimately, we will reach the offenders. But, I do not want any one of you to be offenders. I want you all to be honest citizens, honest tax payers. We are here to help you. Whenever I have been incharge of this department, we have been successful in raising revenues for the Government”, he said.
Stating that 1.7 million people had voluntarily registered for filing their service taxes, he said only 700,000 actually pay their taxes. PTI