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08 August, 2015

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Crime proceeds not eligible for black money compliance scheme

Crime proceeds not eligible for black money compliance scheme

The compliance opportunity available till September 30 for declaring undisclosed foreign wealth which had escaped taxation in India is not applicable to any proceeds of crime, a finance ministry official said.

Although no question is asked to individuals, companies and partnerships that declare previously unreported foreign assets under the ongoing black money compliance scheme, the declaration will become invalid if it comes to light later that the assets and income disclosed to avail of immunity from prosecution is indeed proceeds of crime, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson Anita Kapur explained at a television show on Tuesday.

Under the compliance window, assessees can declare the undisclosed foreign wealth, pay 60% tax on it by December 31 and escape three to 10 years rigorous imprisonment envisaged in the new black money law. This benefit is not available in cases where the department has already obtained information about the hidden wealth through its information exchange deals with tax authorities in other countries.

Revenue secretary Shaktikanta Das, who was also on the show, explained that there was no basis for any fear of misuse of the new stringent black money law. The government has made sure that the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 and the rules under it leave no room for discretion to the authority which receives declarations under the scheme to act in an arbitrary manner.

The officer, in the rank of a commissioner or principal commissioner of income tax, will act under the direct supervision of CBDT. The government may appoint a second officer in Mumbai soon to process the applications. To bring clarity on the new black money law and the rules, the government may also issue further clarifications soon, Das said.

Das also said that the tax department was investigating many cases of unaccounted wealth in a non-intrusive manner and that the government would be getting information in certain cases from tax authorities in other countries, including from Switzerland.

Kapur said that action under the new law would be taken whenever the department unearths information about the undisclosed foreign wealth of assessees no matter when those assets were acquired.



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