The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Monday clarified that reports by certain media houses regarding the en masse issue of prosecution notices to small companies for TDS default are “completely misleading and full of factual inaccuracies”.
It further stated that the Mumbai Income Tax TDS office has issued Show Cause Notices only in a limited number of big cases where more than Rs 5 lakh of tax was collected as TDS from employees etc and yet the same was not deposited with the Income Tax Department in time.
“Having deducted tax from employees and other taxpayers and not depositing the same in time in the government treasury is an offence punishable under the law. It also affects the interest of the employees from whose salary the tax has been deducted by the unscrupulous employers who have not deposited the same in time in the government treasury,” CBDT further said.
The taxation body claimed that a few defaulter firms are “deliberately misleading the media to thwart action against themselves.”
CBDT further clarified that Mumbai IT TDS office has issued the prosecution notice to only 50 big firms in the last one month. Out of these, in 80% of the cases the TDS tax default is above Rs 10 lakh and in 10% cases, TDS default is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh. In the remaining 10% of cases, TDS default is of more than Rs 1 crore as detected in the survey.
The department also confirmed that “Prosecutions have also recently been launched against 4 big business houses where more than Rs 50 Crore of tax was collected by them from the taxpayers and yet not deposited with the Government in time.”
It can be noted that when an entity deducts TDS from payments made by it to employees, vendors etc, the total tax deducted in a month has to be deposited with the government by the 7th of the next month. Inability to do so is a violation of Income tax law.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has said that so far in this financial year only 1,400 prosecutions notices have been sent to assessees out of over 60 million returns filed. This, according to the CBDT, under no circumstances can be termed as mass harassment by the income tax department. Therefore, to say that prosecution notices en masse have been sent to taxpayers for minor defaults is completely incorrect and misleading, the CBDT added.