Rules and regulations related to income tax raid or search and seizure was first framed in the Income Tax Act, 1956 by the Income Tax Department. Now we will discuss the concept of search and seizure according to the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Officers Authorized to Issue Order for Search & Seizure
Here are the following officers are authorized to issue an order for search and seizure under the Income Tax Act.
- The Director of Income Tax.
- The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.
- The Commissioner of Income Tax.
- Joint Director or Joint Commissioner of Income Tax as empowered by the Board.
When can Income Tax Raid be conducted?
- Income tax raid is conducted when the Income Tax officer has in possession any information through which he/she has reason to believe that:
- Such officers are allowed to authorize any officer subordinate to him but not below the rank of Income Tax Officer to perform a search and seizure. Under this, authorization in relation to authorized Officer is done by offering a search warrant in Form 45.
- Any person to whom a summon with reference to Section 131(1) or a notice with reference to Section 142(1) has been served to produce books of accounts or other necessary documents which have been unsuccessful or omitted to produce or additional documents;
- Any person to whom a summon is issued with reference to Section 131(1) or a notice with reference to Section 142(1) has been issued and which is not possible to produce or another document that will be useful for any proceedings under the Act;
- A person is in control of money, bullion, jewelry or other valuable article or thing and property represent income and which has not been disclosed or will not be disclosed.
Powers of the Authorized Officer
- Here are the following powers are given to an Authorized Officer while conducting a search and seizure operation under the Income Tax Act:
- Hence, an Authorized Officer would have sufficient cause to conduct a search if a person has not properly produced a book of accounts with response to notices/summons and the Officer has reason to believe that the person is in possession of undisclosed income or property.
- They are allowed to enter premises and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft where the officer has the motive to suspect that such books of accounts, other documents, money, bullion, jewelry or other valuable article are reserved.
- They are allowed to open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah where the keys are not accessible.
- Search any person who has got out of or is about to get into or is in the building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft, and if the officer has reason to suspect that such person has secreted about any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewelry or other precious article or thing.
- Any person who is in possession or control of any books of account or other documents maintained in the form of electronic records, to afford the compulsory facility to the authorized officer to examine all such books of account or other documents.
- Seize any such books of account, other necessary documents, money, bullion, jewelry or other precious article or thing found as a result of such search. In spite of that officer will have no powers to seize any bullion, jewelry or other precious article or thing is the stock-in-trade of the business encountered as a result of the search and seize. He/she will make a note or inventory of such stock-in- trade of business.
- Place mark of identification on any books of account or other documents or reason to be made extracts or copies there from.
- Make a note or an inventory of such money, bullion, jewellery or other precious article or a thing.