IT denies reports, facts state ’88 lakh tax filers avoided filing returns during Demonetization’

Mumbai: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Thursday denied having a word called ‘Stop Filers’ in its glossary and said it does not maintain any database of ‘Stop Filers’ in normal course”.

Responding to Indian Express’s published report on “88 lakh taxpayers didn’t file returns in year of noteban, 10-fold jump over previous year” dated April 4, the CBDT denied having Stop Filers word in its glossary and stated there is no data that suggests Indian express claims of spike in the number of “stop filers” in financial year 2016-17 during demonetizati

on.

Who are Stop filers? These are individuals who have filed returns in earlier years but did not file their returns in the current year despite being liable to do so.

The Officials said that this surge, in the year of demonetization, could be attributed to the loss of jobs, falling income and low economic activity.

In its official press statement, the CBDT said, “CBDT also wishes to make it very clear that the information about ‘Stop Filers’ is incorrect and the data source quoted is not from the Income Tax Department.”

Although the CBDT statement does not match the facts stated by Indian Express, the news source has obtained the data on stop-filers from sources in the IT department.

Secondly, a memo of CBDT F. No. 309/ 11/ 2016 dated April 22, 2016, clearly refers to “stop-filer/non-filer” as one of the “commonly used terms relating to direct tax administration”.

Not only this the term stop filers has also been used in reports submitted to Parliament.

The Fifty-Second Report of the Standing Committee on Finance (2017-18) that was presented to the Lok Sabha on December 20, 2017 read “would help achieve multiple benefits of widening of tax base through identification of new tax payers, non-filers and stop-filers, curb tax evasion.”

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