Bengaluru: It’s that time of the year, when the tax payers file their income tax returns and seek professional help from their chartered accountant (CA) to save on their taxes and claim refunds.
On a tip off that some CAs may be helping their clients to fudge figures, show bogus receipts and claim losses to hoodwink income tax authorities, the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation), Karnataka and Goa on Wednesday searched and questioned a prominent CA in the City and stumbled upon a ‘fraudulent income tax refund’ scam, which is pegged at around Rs 18 crore by the DGIT.
According to official sources, the income tax officers on Wednesday searched the offices of a prominent chartered accountants’ firm in Malleswaram and questioned the CA after they allegedly found that he had on their “insistence” fudged the tax return papers of his clients so that they could pay lower income tax and claim refund fraudulently.
“Some of the employees of 50 companies such as IBM, Vodafone, Saplabs, Biocon, Infosys, ICICI Bank, Cisco, Thomson Reuters India Ltd among others have resorted to fraudulent claim of refunds by filing revised returns of their individual income. The CA confessed that he has filed nearly 1,000 returns with loss from house property, aggregating to loss claim of Rs 18 crore on the insistence of his clients,” said an officer.
The tax sleuths have also questioned some of the employees, who admitted that they did not have any real loss under the head – ‘Income from house property’ in the tax filing document, but were advised by their CA that they could get them tax refund by making some claims and had charged 10 per cent fees as incidental charges. “They shared some WhatsApp messages with the auditor to support their charges against the CA, the officer added.
The DGIT has seized the details of the tax payers, who had filed the revised returns, claiming bogus house property loss. “We will examine his other clients and will cross examine them with the CA. Legal action will be taken against him and the errant tax payers, who have claimed wrong refunds under the provisions of Income Tax Act,” he added.
“Tax returns and refunds are paperless now. Everything is online on the principle of trust. Making a bogus and fraudulent claim is not only a betrayal of this trust; it also exposes the taxpayer to heavy interest, penalty and possible prosecution ending in a jail term. If a person has made a false claim in the
Income tax return resulting in lower tax payment/unjustified refund, they should take immediate steps to file revised returns disclosing the correct income and pay due tax,” said a statement from the DGIT.
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