Over one trillion dollars of unaccounted funds lying in accounts outside India
GN Bureau | May 11, 2015
The black money bill is likely to be taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The legislation, known officially Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets Bill, provides for heavy penalties and imprisonment of up to 10 years for stashing unaccounted funds abroad. The government had introduced the bill in March.
India has no official estimate of illegal money stashed away overseas, but unofficial assessments put it somewhere between $466 billion and $1.4 trillion.
As part of overall monitoring of income tax evasion, last month, the government had revised and added more queries to the form that filed by the income tax assessee (ITR forms). It had sought details of all the bank accounts and money spent on foreign trips. However, after much hue and cry, the government is likely to revise the ITR forms.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had said early this month that "next week, I intend to take up before Parliament the law with regard to taxation of undisclosed assets and incomes abroad."
"I think, for every assessee, every person in the commercial business also, it is a judgement call that in a liberal economic environment of reasonable and lower taxation rates, 'go straight'," Jaitley had said.
"And, therefore, if you transact within the limits of law, it is much safer. If you breach it, gone are the days where offences would go undetected," he added.
Jaitley has also warned corporates not to take unfair advantage of the liberalised tax environment. He said the world is moving towards a more transparent regime that would remove the veil of secrecy from unlawful transactions.
In March 2011, the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Financial Management were given the task of estimating unaccounted income and wealth inside and outside the country.
Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha earlier this week that the government was examining the reports of three institutes on the matter.
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