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As a part of the social media revolution, it's commonplace to share pictures of expensive holidays and new purchases on popular social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, however, soon the government will also be scanning the social media sites for expensive spending by people filing disproportionate taxes.
From next month itself, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government will start collecting virtual information from social media sites to match the spending patterns of citizens along with the income declarations made. Without raiding homes or offices, officials will be able to spot those people who pay too little taxes yet live extravagantly.
Known as 'Project Insight' which has been build over a period of 7 years at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, the initiative will complement the world's largest biometric identity database as well as India's most ambitious tax overhaul as more people will be forced to pay up.
"This will put an end to harassment by tax officials as there will be no public interface," said Amit Maheshwari, managing partner at an accountancy firm.
Currently, India's tax-to-GDP ratio stands at around 17 percent, compared to 25 percent for most Asian countries. The Project Insight is expected to increase compliance by 30 to 40 percent during the first phase itself.
Countries such as Belgium, Canada and Australia are already using similar methods to identify tax evasions that may have gone undetected.