Practical Aspects On SURVEY, SEARCH AND SEIZURE (Frequently Asked Questions) by Paras Kochar
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Black money generation, despite being quite the controversial subject is a constant requirement for most business people in India. Due to the exorbitant rates of income tax over the past years, tax evasion has become a common and normative practice. Now given the view of the government; to curb all such malpractices and to prevent loss of revenue, the provisions of survey, search and seizures have been constituted within the Income Tax Act. The powers of search and seizure are like a machine gun and the power of survey is like pistol in the hands of taxmen. Through these powers, the tax authorities are able to keep tight control over potential tax evaders. These provisions of search and seizure empower the tax men to enter the premises of a suspected tax evader to search the premises and seize any unaccounted cash, jewellery, valuables, the books of accounts and documents. The provisions of survey empower the tax men to enter the business premises of the suspected evader to collect information and to impound books of accounts and other documents. While these provisions are constantly being updated and strictly enforced and technological processes and software making more and more people accountable, tax evasion has also become more rampant. Unless, there is drastic change in entire tax system of India, tax evasion will remain a common and necessary practice.
In many cases, assesses have also made complains about harassment during search and seizure and survey operations. Government bodies have also acknowledged such abuse of power and hence, from time to time CBDT has released several circulars to maintain accountability of the tax men. The Income Tax Act gives certain rights to the assessee and includes a list of their duties. Similarly, the powers of the taxmen have been mentioned in the provisions related to search and seizure and survey but due to ignorance, lack of experience and knowledge, the assessees under trial often panic and become nervous during the course of survey, searches and seizure operations. Therefore, there is a need for a book containing frequently asked questions (FAQ) to enlighten the tax payers for whom it is not possible to know the extensive and complicated tax laws that exist for such cases.
Newer tax consultants or Authorised Representatives or those who have no experience of handling such operations will be enlightened by this book. Written in the form of a practical FAQ, the book will remove misconceptions, misunderstandings and confusions of the common assesses. The taxmen will also benefit from this book in understanding the perspective of assessees as it has been written in simple language for the common assesses who can understand the law with the help of questions and replies. The case laws and the circulars cited in this book will hopefully provide an extensive guide into the subject. The suggestions from the readers will be taken care of at the time of next edition of this book - You can also send us those queries which have not been covered in this book so the same can be covered in the next issues.