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Taxmen to snoop social networking sites to trace black money

Monday, September 11, 2017

A photo of your shiny new luxury car on Instagram or a costly watch on Facebook may lead the taxman to your door as the tax department from next month will begin amassing virtual information to trace black money.

'Project Insight', likely to be launched next month, will use big data analytics to match information from social media sites to deduce mismatches between spending pattern and income declaration. The tax department will analyse mismatches in income declarations and spending patterns to trace tax evasions and black money, an official said.

The government has also made linking of PAN with Aadhaar mandatory to get a 360 degree view of a person's income and assets. The tax department had last year signed a pact with L&T Infotech for implementation of Project Insight, which is designed to strengthen the non-intrusive information driven approach for improving tax compliance.

"Currently beta testing is on and the integrated platform for Project Insight should be launched by next month," the official told PTI.

Project Insight has been initiated by the income tax department for data mining, collection, collation and processing of such information for effective risk management with a view to widen and deepen the tax base.

It will help the taxmen monitor high value transactions, and curb the circulation of black money. This is part of the steps the government has taken to unearth and tax undeclared or illegal wealth. The steps include launch of 'Operation Clean Money' after demonetisation of old higher denomination currency for collection, collation and analysis of information on cash transactions, extensive use of information technology and data analytics tools for identification of high risk cases, expeditious e-verification of suspect cases and enforcement actions.

The information technology-based Project Insight will strengthen the information driven approach for improving tax compliance, the official said. The new technical infrastructure will also be leveraged for implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The project will use technology to allow the government collate databases of IT returns, IT forms, TDS/TCS statements and Statement of Financial Transactions received from financial institutions.

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