Project Insight is the finance ministry’s flagship project, aimed at widening the tax base by catching tax evaders using technology. Data mining, big data and analytics will be used to scoop out tax evaders from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Project Insight would be rigorously executed effective financial year 2017-18; and an approximate budget of Rs.1000 crore has been allocated for the same.
Traditionally, Income Tax Dept. conducted random searches, known as tax raids at homes/offices of those citizens who declared less income to evade tax. But now, as every information is easily available on social media, technology would be used to conduct such raids online, right into your personal social media profiles. The IT Dept. has chalked out an extensive and detailed blueprint to track tax evaders using technology such as enterprise data warehouse, data mining, web mining, predictive modeling, data exchange, master data management, centralised processing, compliance management and case analytics capabilities.
The IT department has signed a contract with L&T Infotech Ltd.
For instance, if a businessman flaunts their Europe trip and Rolex watches on his Facebook account, but has declared income of only Rs.10 lakh per annum, then IT Dept. will right away trace that businessman and demand some strict answers.
Humanly, it is not possible to track 120 crore+ population, hence technology is being used to track the income and spending of tax evaders. In this mission, PAN Card of every citizen would be used as the ‘unique identifier’, which will help IT Dept. to pinpoint the tax evaders with high level of precision. Besides, various data points from other Govt. departments such as excise department, Central Board of Direct Taxes, house and wealth tax departments and banks would be collated and collaborated to find out those who spending much more than they are declaring.
A lot of data relating to Securities Transaction Tax, Commodities Transaction Tax has been mined. Technology is helping the CBDT in meeting the mandate of increasing taxpayers base in the country, especially since the tax-to-GDP ratio is on the lower side in India.