Even as the amount of income tax refund disbursed by the department has increased over the years, there has been seen a surge in the claim of suspicious refunds during last 3 years, said minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in a written reply to the Parliament.
Consequently, the department for the current fiscal has shortlisted 20,874 cases for scrutinizing suspicious refund claims as against 11,059 and 9,857 case in the last 2 fiscal years.
As of February 2, the amount of income tax refund disbursed stood at Rs 1.43 lakh crore in comparison to with Rs 1.52 lakh core in FY18 and Rs 1.63 lakh crore in FY17.
"Scrutiny assessments have been initiated against taxpayers claiming high refunds inconsistent with the pattern of income and investments. Wherever after scrutiny the claim of refund was found to be inadmissible, the same was denied and consequential action of penalty and prosecution was taken based on the merits of the case," Shukla said in a reply in the Parliament.
"Since only about 0.5% of the returns is selected for scrutiny, refunds are issued expeditiously at the time of processing itself for the bulk of the taxpayers. With regard to the pending scrutiny cases, the assessing officers have already been advised in the Central Action Plan for 2018-19 to expedite assessment in such cases," the minister said.