Sharing of Asset Details from Wealth Tax Returns with PSBs - CBDT Instructions
IN a meeting on the performance of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) taken by Finance Minister on 5.3.2014, the PSBs raised concern that the details of assets as available in the Wealth Tax Returns of loan defaulters are not being shared by Income Tax Department with the Banks despite repeated requests.
Section 42B of the Wealth Tax Act 1957 states:
42B Disclosure of information respecting assessees:- Where a person makes an application to the Chief Commissioner or Commissioner in the prescribed form for any information relating to any assessee in respect of any assessment made under this Act, the Chief Commissioner or Commissioner may, if he is satisfied that it is in the public interest so to do, furnish or cause to be furnished the information asked for in respect of that assessment only and his decision in this behalf shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court of law.
CBDT observes in a letter to all the Principal Chief Commissioners that in view of the fact that every Return of Wealth filed by the assessee is subject to assessment under section 16 of the Wealth Tax Act, the information contained therein qualifies for being supplied u/s 42B of the Wealth Tax Act, provided the CCWT/CWT is satisfied that supply of such information to PSBs is in public interest.
CBDT in this context clarifies that information on assets of loan defaulters to enable recovery of loans by PSBs from such defaulters is in public interest.
CBDT further clarifies that such information may be provided in respect of the borrower/mortgager/guarantor of the loan only. At the time of supply of such information a confidentiality clause may be included specifying that such information be used only for the purpose of recovery of loan and will not be shared with any other person/agency. An undertaking to this effect shall be obtained from the Bank (to be signed by an officer not below the rank of the Manager of the Branch concerned) before furnishing the information.
At the same time CBDT wants to protect its own interests. The Board directs that in order to ensure that the tax dues of the Department against the defaulter (if any) are safeguarded, an undertaking be obtained from the PSB to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the jurisdictional CIT of the loan defaulter before appropriation of the surplus amount recovered from sale of immovable/movable asset of the defaulter, information in respect of which is shared, after adjustment of its loan dues.
CBDT wants the Principal Chief Commissioners to bring these guidelines to the notice of the Chief Commissioners, DGs and Commissioners of their charges.