Shillong--Income Tax holds interactive session on issues surrounding demonetization

Newmai News Network
SHILLONG, May 15: With notices being served for information on deposits during demonetization and the confusion that these notices have caused among the tribal depositors who normally do not have any legal income tax liabilities, the Income Tax Department in Shillong held an interactive meeting with some prominent civil society organisations of Shillong on Tuesday to clear up matters.
The meeting at Aayakar Bhawan was chaired by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Shillong, RS Upadhyay, and attended representatives of the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), and the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Peoples (FKJGP).
Explaining the reasons for the meeting, the Chief Commissioner (OSD) Ronmoy Das explained that the Department’s investigation into the cases of cash deposit during demonetization are now required to be completed and for this purpose, notices calling for information have already reached depositors, including tribal depositors who normally do not have any legal income tax liabilities.
However, compliance with the notices is poor since many tribal depositors are confused as to why they are receiving the notice and how to provide the details required. The Chief Commissioner clarified that the exemption enjoyed by tribal persons of the North East is subject to certain conditions, which are required to be compulsorily verified in cases of large cash deposits during demonetization.
This is mainly to ensure genuineness of the deposits and eliminate the possibility of “benami” or illegal transactions. For this purpose, the depositors receiving the notices are only required to own up to the deposits with basic evidence of their tribal status, source of income and evidence of earning within the tribal area. In the notices, an easy format is provided which will make the compliance very easy.
He stated that non-compliance, whether willful or out of misunderstanding of the legal status, will only create complications and lead to raising of tax demands against the Depositor, which, he said, the Department sincerely wishes to avoid. However, if the depositors are not formally owned up and explained, the Department may have no choice but to tax such deposits as unexplained income. The Chief Commissioner requested the civil society organisations present to use their influence and offices to propagate this position to the public, so that the depositors in question and related persons understand their legal liabilities and comply with the same for the convenience of all concerned.
The president of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Bri U Hynniewtrep (SNSBH), Dr. W Kharshiing welcomed the initiative taken by the Income Tax Department to educate the tribal population about the correct position of law and gently point out their liabilities to explain the cash deposits. He also questioned the Department with regards to investments made in non-scheduled area by tribal individuals.
The Chief Commissioner (OSD) Ronmoy Das clarified that sources of investments made therein, if from income earned within the scheduled area will not be taxable, however, income arising thereon by way of rental income or profit sale of the same in non-scheduled area, will be taxable. The general secretary of the SNSBH, RL Blah raised the issue of TDS on interest accruing on Fixed Deposits which was duly clarified by the Chief Commissioner (OSD).The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Shillong summed up the discussions and gave his concluding remarks on various aspects of taxation affecting the tribal populace in Meghalaya.