Black money: I-T dept to file 100 more complaints in court

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New Delhi | Published: February 22, 2015 2:20:06 PM

The Income Tax department is set to launch over 100 fresh prosecution complaints for "wilful" evasion...

The I-T department, currently, is working on to probe about 240 HSBC cases where it is suspected that Indians have stashed their illicit funds abroad. (Reuters)The I-T department, currently, is working on to probe about 240 HSBC cases where it is suspected that Indians have stashed their illicit funds abroad. (Reuters)

The Income Tax department is set to launch over 100 fresh prosecution complaints for “wilful” evasion of taxes against those entities and individuals whose names have figured in the HSBC, Geneva black money bank accounts list.

The department, according to sources, is also expected to collect an additional revenue to the tune of Rs 3,200 crore after completing final assessments and prosecutions of these cases, as taxes and penalties.

Officials said the taxman will file prosecution complaints, which means pressing of tax evasion charges against the guilty in a court at the end of investigations, under Section 276C(1) of I-T Act (wilful attempt to evade tax, penalty or interest chargeable) and Section 276D (failure to produce accounts and documents).

“Some 100 or more prosecution cases would be filed by the tax department before March 31 in the HSBC bank Geneva branch black money cases. Already, about 60 such complaints have been filed till now,” a source privy to the development said.

An additional revenue of about Rs 3,200 crore would also be collected by the department, taking the total amount of income brought to tax after investigations in these case to about Rs 7,000 crore, the sources said. Taxes or revenue to the tune of Rs 3,150 crore have been collected till now.

The I-T department, currently, is working on to probe about 240 HSBC cases where it is suspected that Indians have stashed their illicit funds abroad.

Till December 31 last year, assessments were completed in 128 of these cases by the I-T department out of the total 628 Indian names or entities reported on the stolen HSBC list provided by France to India few years ago after they were reportedly “secreted” out by an employee posted at the Geneva branch of the global bank.

Out of the said 628 people, 200 were either non-residents or non-traceable, leaving 428 cases to be actionable for tax sleuths to probe.

For these 428 actionable cases, the government had said, the net amount of peak balance was about Rs 4,500 crore.

The I-T is fast tracking these cases, sources said, as the “time barring” limit for them is March 31 as after this deadline no legal action can be taken.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is supervising the I-T action vis-a-vis the HSBC list, has also recently asked the probe wings to initiate action with regard to obtaining assistance from foreign countries in taking these cases to their logical and legal conclusion.

The assistance will be sought under protocols of existing tax treaties and agreements on mutual exchange of information in tax matters between Indian and a number of countries.

“The I-T field offices have been asked to send their requests to obtain information from foreign jurisdictions latest by March 6 as beyond this time it would not be possible to obtain information in cases which are getting time barred by March 31, including those figuring under the HSBC Geneva list,” they said.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has already widened its probe into these cases after revelations in this regard were recently made by ICIJ– a collective of journalists from across the globe.

Details of more than 1,00,000 account holders around the world, including over 1,000 from India, were claimed to have been disclosed through a joint investigation by ICIJ.

Collectively, these accounts had a balance of USD 4.1 billion (Rs 25,420 crore) till 2007.

In the list published recently, there are 2,699 accounts linked to 1,688 Indians. Of these, 1,403 accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006 while the maximum amount of money associated with a client connected to India was USD 876.3 million.

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