RAIPUR: Seventy-two affluent farmers of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are under Income Tax scanner following suspicion that they avoided paying taxes by declaring their earnings as returns from farming.
IT department has identified rich farmers, who have declared more than Rs one crore as agriculture income, in both the states. “There are many assesse who fall in this category. But, as of now, IT department has identified 72 of them for a detailed scrutiny”, Income Tax department sources said.
Investigation wing of IT department would also carry out a drive to scan those farmers, who are not filing income tax returns despite selling horticulture produce worth of lakhs in the markets. Such farmers also maintain the earnings in fixed deposit accounts of banks, which is also taxable but don’t pay tax, they added.
IT department is on a drive in this region to identify various forms of rich farmers and businessmen, who do money laundering by buying agricultural land to avoid paying taxes, by declaring that their earnings as generated from farming.
When contacted, senior chartered accountant Singhai Sanjay Jain said, “It’s a general notion that agriculture income is not considered under IT returns, which is beyond truth. Agriculture income is also considered to assess tax amount on taxable income. In other words, agriculture income increases burden of tax on non-agriculture income, it means agriculture income is being taxed under the veil and rigorous efforts are being made by revenue authority to tax it directly.”
He said the only condition in which the agriculture income is tax-free is when a person’s source of income from other means is just below Rs 5000.” Such category of people is in thousands of numbers but before taking off this drive smoothly, the IT Department has initially marked only 72 rich farmers in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh on experimental basis to evaluate the filed income-tax by cross-checking it with vouchers and bills of seeds, fertilisers, agriculture equipment and infrastructure raised for protected farming and others, pointed out.
Indications are that the initial investigative results would be astonishing as it include many leaders of political spectrum, administrative officials and businessmen. The assessee’s income-tax return of past five years would be evaluated by the IT department in order to get into the bottom of their tax payment history.
Jain also told TOI that in Bhopal and Indore there are rich farmers and agro-companies, which have shown their profit up to Rs five crores. Now their land and produce’s market and buyers would be screened to cross-check the facts.
hope something serious anomaly will come out
Senior Agriculture Scientist Dr Sanket Thankur said, “In Chhattisgarh there are many so-called farmers, who have registered their land and agro based companies in name of their wives and are working themselves.
“Industrialists, who own rolling mills also own agriculture land, shows themselves as working in floriculture and horticulture produces. Apparently, they don’t pay taxes on agriculture income as they are taking the benefit of Tax laws designed to help lakhs of poor farmers. Besides, most of the benefits like subsidy on fertilisers and minimum support price go to rich farmers, who have irrigation facilities”, he added.