India gets 638 declarants for $580 mn black money

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) India’s drive against black money to get back ill-gotten wealth stashed away abroad by its citizens has drawn responses from 638 declarants for total assets worth Rs.3,770 crore ($580 million), an official statement said on Thursday.

September 30 was the last date under the amnesty scheme, that called for a tax of 30 percent and an equal amount in penalty that is to be paid before December 31. The compliance window opened on July 1.

The official statement said the actual quantum of declaration, under what is called the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax)) Act, 2015, was subject to a final reconcilitaion.

“The officer designated to receive the declarations worked till midnight on September 30, 2015,” on a day when the rush of black money declarants peaked at the Income Tax office here.

“The e-filing portal was also open till midnight to receive the declarations,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson Anita Kapur said on Thursday that the government had taken all steps necessary to facilitate black money declaration.

“We clarified a lot of queries of people. We also facilitated their filing till midnight, as we got some last minute requests from places other than Delhi,” she said.

“From our side, everything was done to ensure that people who wanted to declare the assets.. they are facilitated in declaring the assets,” she said.

“Once the window is closed, the Act with all its provisions will be enforced on defaulters,” she added.

Last month, Swiss and other European banks asked Indian customers to avail the ongoing one-time compliance window granted by the tax department for disclosure of foreign assets.

A source here told IANS that Swiss and Britain-based banks are asking Indian customers to provide fresh undertakings that all taxes have been paid on funds deposited by them in respective bank accounts.

Such undertakings have also been requested from high net worth individuals and corporate clients dealing in wealth and portfolio management, the source added.

The Black Money act, for the first time, allows levy of tax in India on assets kept abroad.

Unlawful undisclosed income abroad is taxed at a rate of 30 percent with an additional 30 percent penalty.

The Income Tax department has filed 121 cases of prosecution against those entities whose names have appeared in the HSBC Geneva bank list.

The 121 cases were filed before the March 31 deadline after which these cases would have become time-barred and thus could not be prosecuted by the department.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the government has completed an assessment of 350 foreign accounts and tax evasion proceedings had been initiated against 60 account holders.

This move followed the Supreme Court last year giving a list of 628 entities in the HSBC Geneva branch, furnished to it in a sealed envelope by the government, to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted in May last year.

India has no official estimate about the quantum of black money stashed away by Indians abroad but unofficial estimate puts the sum somewhere between $466 billion and $1.4 trillion.

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