In an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi, V. Anandarajan, Joint Secretary, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that the Government is not extending the window for declaration of black money assets held abroad beyond September 30.
The three month window for voluntary disclosure without criminal liability was enough to make affected people aware of the provision, said Anandarajan.
While inaugurating the ‘Conference on Black Money Act: Ignorance is not Bliss’, Anandarajan stated that the issue of accidental discovery of funds left abroad by parents or as part of beneficiary funds is a criminal liability as in the provision of such discovery in the Income Tax Act (IT).
In any case the Government has kept a threshold limit of Rs 5 lakhs for such accidental discovery that will not be penalized added Anandarajan.
Describing the Black Money legislation as a pretty touch act Anandarajan said that the window is provided so that there is no witch hunting, no fishing expedition, and misuse by senior officers.
“The provision for confiscation of discovered black money and assets abroad would be the same as in the Prevention of Money Laundering Legislation.”
On the question of black money generated domestically and in the country, Anandarajan said the legislation was with the Parliament and the separate law for this would come into force when it is passed by it.
As for foreign accounts held by non-residents while they were still residing India, non-disclosure would be an offence. But under the double taxation avoidance treaties with a large number of countries that India has, non-residents who pay tax in the country of their normal residence would be protected by these treaties. He also recalled that the Government had already issued two installments of clarifications on various questions posed by the public and was still open to assist where further clarifications were needed on the provisions, said Anandarajan.
D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, the incarnation of the BMA with far reaching consequences (ranging from hefty penalty to prosecutions) may be fraught with administrative issue as the authorities who have been bestowed discretionary powers with little checks and balances may lack the comprehension and training for the judicious implementation and invocation of the BMA provisions.
The lack of facility of time to taxpayers may also go to buttress the point of politically motivated agenda of the government behind the BMA to showcase delivery on the promises made by the leaders, added Rawat.
Others who also spoke during the conference were Justice Anil Kumar, Former Judge Delhi High Court, Pallavi Bakhru, Director, Grant Thornton Advisory Pvt. Ltd. and others.