Cash (Representational image)
The Ministry of Finance has asked income tax (I-T) offices to keep a check on private hospitals and nursing homes taking cash as payment for COVID-19 treatment.
The ministry has instructed the tax department to penalise entities with unaccounted cash, and book such entities under anti-money laundering laws, according to a Business Standard report. The move is aimed at checking possible malpractices and tax evasion.
The Income Tax Department has denied this story, calling the report "unsubstantiated"
"The Finance Ministry has not issued any directive to CBDT in this regard. Further, unlike as reported, the CBDT has not come out with any Circular where hospitals need to disclose the cash they receive to the IT Department," the department said tweeted.
"Unlike, as alleged in the report, CBDT has acted to facilitate patients during this pandemic. Provisions of section 269ST of ITAct have been relaxed to allow cash payments of more than Rs. 2 lakh to hospitals for Covid treatment if the PAN or Aadhaar of the payer is provided," the department said.
The tax department has received complaints against hospitals, including some major ones, for allegedly defrauding patients and demanding cash payments, Business Standard reported.
"Several cases, where private hospitals accepted substantial amount of cash but gave receipts of a lower amount to the patients' families, have come to our notice," a bureaucrat told the publication.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.
The I-T Department has been instructed to push private hospitals to make proper disclosures to tax authorities, according to the BS report.
The report also said the ministry has also asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to shortlist 20 percent of the private hospitals suspected to have indulged in undisclosed cash dealings, and assess the amounts of accounted and unaccounted cash received from patients. Inputs will also be taken from patients' families.
The CBDT released a circular on May 7, according to which hospitals, dispensaries, nursing homes, Covid care centres and other medical facilities disclose the cash they receive from patients during the period of April 1, 2021, to May 31, 2021.