New Delhi: The Income Tax Department is soon going to start a massive awareness campaign for tribals of North-East Region comprising seven states.
Scheduled Tribes of North-East states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will be made aware about various provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, particularly section 10(26), which gives the tribals an exemption of tax from any income source in the areas of North East Region or by way of dividend or interest on securities.
The Income Tax Department has found that Scheduled Tribes in these states are misusing the law.
According to a senior Income Tax official, a team led by Principal Chief Commissioner North East Region will start an awareness campaign in the region on a pilot basis. The officials will use the platform of traditional and cultural programmes of the tribals to sensitize them about the misuse of Section 10(26).
The Income Tax department will set up stalls at the festivals in the North-Eastern Region. The official further added that the department will rope in village headman, tribal chiefs and local tribal organizations as they have considerable influence in the lives of local people.
He said that religious institutions like churches may also be used to aware the people about the misuse of Income Tax laws. The department will also release video and animation clips on social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp and local cinema halls which will be specially designed for the tribals.
Apart from this, the Income Tax department will also appoint brand ambassadors for the massive campaign. According to the official, the campaign will run for the period of three to five years. An impact analysis will be done after the first year and the campaign would be modified, if required.
The Income Tax department is conducting this campaign as their investigation suggested that the properties were purchased by non-tribals in the name of tribals. It has said that businesses are run by non-tribals.
Also, cash deposits in the bank accounts of tribals can also be taxed if an individual does not explain the source. During demonetization, a huge amount of cash was deposited in the accounts of the tribals which was siphoned off.
For the tribals, the message of the campaign would be to not allow their names to be used for business by others.
The Income Tax department has warned the tribals do not allow their names to be used for the purchase of property for others.
It also warned them to be vigilant about the misuse of their bank accounts and not to sign any important papers without knowing the purpose.