Flaunting your Rolex on FB? Taxmen to track social media to nab high spenders

Instagram preferred over Facebook to chat with celebrities: Survey

If you flaunt your expensive Rolex watch on Facebook from 2017-18 onwards, chances are that the income taxdepartment is watching you.


The department is planning to include information given on social media under its Project Insight, a project to do data mining to nab high spenders who may not be reporting their true income.


“If you flaunt that you have gone on an expensive trip to a foreign location on Facebook and other social media, we will gather that information to match it with your income declared,” a finance  ministry official said.


Another official also said Project Insight will include information from social media in its data mining.


“Project Insight will essentially do data mining. It will use inputs from various sources. Social media would be one of those,” he said.


Project Insight, work on which has begun, will come into effect from 2017-18.


When asked whether it would become operational from the beginning of the next financial year, an official said that the nitty-gritty is yet to be worked out.


Through annual information return and third party reporting, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) gets a lot of information in its system. Since it is not humanly possible to look into all this information, Project Insight will help to mine these data.


The project will identify what kind of expenses were incurred and investments made by a taxpayer. Immediately, the department would get to know what he has declared is correct or not.


Information technology firm L&T Infotech will assist the tax department to nab evaders. The IT firm will profile all taxpayers and flag high risk individuals using technology. So if you missed paying your taxes, but head to a luxury mall and splurge, you might get caught.


The approximately Rs 1,000-crore project will use technology to allow the government to collate all the information available with the income tax department from various sources and systemically profile people using permanent account number (PAN) details.


The project will integrate enterprise data warehouse, data mining, web mining, predictive modelling, data exchange, master data management, centralised processing, compliance management and case analytics capabilities.


Several government departments like CBDT, intelligence bureau and others are working closely on the project.


Through profiling, all transactions by a person, including the purchase of immovable property, jewellery and vehicles, will be available with the tax department in a systematised manner, making identification of tax evaders simpler. The move is also aimed to widen the tax base, which currently is about 5.43 crore.


The project will also track the PANs being quoted in financial transactions and tally them with income tax filings.


The special investigative team on black money has in a report recommended banning cash transactions over Rs 3 lakh.


The project is also expected to rank tax evaders based on the amount of tax that could be recovered, so that the authorities could go after the highest value targets first.