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Black money law starts showing results; here’s how it’s helping track undisclosed income

Black money law starts showing results; here’s how it’s helping track undisclosed income

Under various sections of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 till May 31, orders have been passed in 166 cases. This has helped the government raise a demand of Rs 8,216 crore from these instances of detected violations

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The black money law enacted by the government in 2015 to crack down on undisclosed foreign income and assets has started showing significant results.

Under various sections of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 till May 31, orders have been passed in 166 cases.

This has helped the government raise a demand of Rs 8,216 crore from these instances of detected violations of the act in form of non-disclosure of foreign income and assets.

A total of 107 prosecution complaints have also been filed in connection with black money stashed abroad under the act.

The government informed in Lok Sabha on Monday that an undisclosed income of Rs 8,465 crore has been “brought to tax” and a penalty of Rs 1,294 crore has been levied in HSBC cases. This was mentioned by MoS Finance Pankaj Chaudhary in a written reply.

His reply also indicated that the black money law has also enabled the government to detect undisclosed income of approximately Rs 11,010 crore in connection with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) cases.

Chaudhary informed that undisclosed credit of approximately Rs 20,078 crore has been detected in connection with the cases related to the Panama Papers. Meanwhile, an amount of roughly Rs 246 crore has been tracked in connection with the Paradise Paper leaks.

BLACK MONEY IN SWISS BANK
Pankaj Chaudhary also responded to another question regarding the amount of black money stashed away in the Swiss Bank for the last 10 years.

He said, “There is no official estimate of the black money stashed in Swiss Bank for last 10 years.”

It may be noted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had raised the issue of black money ahead of the general elections in 2014 and made it a key electoral plank. After coming to power, one of the NDA government’s first major decisions was to set up an SIT to probe cases of black money stashed by Indians abroad.

In the past five years, the Income Tax Department has pursued several investigations, leading to an increase in the prosecution of tax evaders under the Income Tax Act.

WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY GOVT?
Pankaj Chaudhary also informed the Lok Sabha that the government has taken several steps to retrieve the black money stashed by Indians outside the country.

Source: Ministry of Finance
Source: Ministry of Finance

He said, “Apart from prescribing more stringent penal consequences, the black money law has included the offence of wilful attempt to evade tax in relation to undisclosed foreign income/assets as a Scheduled Offence under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).”

As per Chaudhary’s reply, the government has been proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/Multilateral Conventions.

The availability of real-time data on overseas investments by Indians has improved as the country emerges into a leading force in efforts to forge a multilateral regime for proactive sharing of financial information, known as Automatic Exchange of Information (ATI).

The Automatic Exchange of Information based on Common Reporting Standard started in 2017, enabling the country to monitor the financial account information of Indian residents in other countries.

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