Finance minister said few questions will be asked to those who use the one-time compliance window
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley assured the industry that contact between the government and those who voluntarily declare their black money assets through the one-time compliance window till September 30 will be minimal. He was in Ahmedabad to chair a seminar on the Income Declaration Scheme 2016.
“Personal contact between the assessing authority and the assessees must be the least possible amount. There will be no questions asked by the government regarding the source of the income, this is an opportunity to make oneself a compliant tax payer,” he said.
Emphasising that this is a ‘disclosure’ scheme and not an ‘immunity’ scheme, Jaitley said, “Immunity scheme allows discrimination against the honest tax payer. We don’t want that; we want the honest tax payer to get premium.”
Speaking on the steps already taken by the Union government to curb the generation and spread of black money, Jaitley said, “The first Cabinet decision taken by Prime Minister Modi was to form a special investigation team (SIT) to probe black money stashed abroad, a decision denied by the previous government for at least 20 years. After that, when documents exposed Indian account holders in HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, each of the account holders was issued notice. Assessment is almost completed, and prosecution is ongoing. Assessment is also in process with regard to the Panama Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Journalists.
At the G20 meeting in Brisbane, Prime Minister Modi also stressed for the cooperation among G20 nations, which control 85% of the global economy, on sharing information regarding flow of black money. We were also among the first countries to sign the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) with the United States.” A recent report said there has been a sizeable drop in Indian holdings abroad with these steps, he added.
Industry persons have raised the demand for extending the window for declaration of unaccounted income by a further six months. When asked about the same, Union revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the window, open from June 1, would not be extended further.
Adhia said there was “maximum possibility” that the Benami Transactions Prohibition (Amendment) Bill 2015, which seeks to expand the scope of benami transactions to include transactions made in fictitious names and grant exemptions if the benamidar is spouse or children or a member of the Hindu Undivided Family, would be passed in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.