FIU to get PAN data from I-T dept to check large, suspicious cash transactions
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is the nodal central agency authorised to obtain cash transaction reports (CTRs) from public and private sector banks every month to analyse and find out the suspicious cases
The Income Tax Department has been allowed to share the PAN data of an individual or entity with the Financial Intelligence Unit to dig deeper into suspicious and large cash transactions at banks, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
The CBDT, which frames policy for the tax department, issued an order on July 16 allowing the two agencies under the Union Finance Ministry to share the data.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is the nodal central agency that is authorised to obtain cash transaction reports (CTRs) from public and private sector banks every month and after analysing these, it forwards the suspicious or intriguing such reports to various law enforcement, investigative and intelligence agencies so that they can launch their individual probes to check possible instances of money laundering, tax evasion and terror financing that could have been perpetrated using the dubious cash.
A bank has to furnish a CTR to the FIU every month "incorporating all transactions over ₹10 lakh or its equivalent in foreign currency or a series of integrally connected transactions that add up to more than ₹10 lakh or its equivalent in foreign currency."
The FIU is empowered to get the CTRs under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
As per the procedure, banks provide the CTRs to FIU with only the PAN (permanent account number) that was mentioned on the transaction slip or record and that does not include any other details like the name of the PAN holder and other information about them.
A senior officer told PTI that the PAN data will enable the FIU in the better determination of the individuals and entities who are behind large or suspicious cash transactions and it helps it in flagging these reports to the concerned agency for investigation.
At times there have been CTRs where numerous small transactions were undertaken without mentioning the PAN and when these are interlinked with the help of data mining tools a big picture of possible tax evasion or money laundering emerges, the officer said.
If one or two PANs in this mega link are obtained, investigators can get some leads about the entities who are behind these cash deals, the officer added.
The CBDT order said the sharing of PAN data with FIU will be under two heads:
In the first case, if the FIU has the PAN then the taxman will share the name of the PAN holder, their father/husband's name, address, date of birth or incorporation date (in case of companies), the year of filing the last income tax return, gross total income range, turnover range and some other information will be provided by the I-T department to the FIU.
In case the FIU does not have the PAN for a cash transaction report, the tax department will provide it "a dump of PAN database to enable it to search..."
"While furnishing the information, the specified income-tax authority shall form an opinion that sharing of such information is necessary for enabling the FIU to perform its function under its respective laws," the CBDT said.
PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number allotted by the income tax department to a person, firm or entity.
The CBDT and the FIU will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise the data-sharing regime, the order said.