Income Declaration Scheme 2016: Go ahead and avail the immunity offer

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New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2016 5:30:53 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants you to have 'peace of mind' by coming clean under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), 2016, in case you have undisclosed income in the past.

 

Income tax laws provide for hefty penalties on tax-evaders which could be far in excess (often thrice as much as the tax you are required to pay under law) of what you need to part under IDS 2016.(Reuters)Income tax laws provide for hefty penalties on tax-evaders which could be far in excess (often thrice as much as the tax you are required to pay under law) of what you need to part under IDS 2016.(Reuters)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants you to have ‘peace of mind’ by coming clean under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), 2016, in case you have undisclosed income in the past. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also wants you to “sleep peacefully” after making the requisite income disclosure under the scheme to the income tax authorities and paying up 45 per cent penalty.

The I-T Department too has been on an overdrive to make the scheme a success after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a special mention on IDS 2016 in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ address to the nation. Assuaging fears, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has now assured black money holders that disclosures under the scheme will remain confidential and not shared with any other tax or law enforcement authority. Moreover, within the I-T department no proceedings would be initiated based on information provided under the scheme.

This is as clear an assurance as can be. However, along with the carrot, there is the stick being wielded, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned of ‘serious consequences’ for continuing to avoid paying taxes. The window provided under the IDS 1016 would close on September 30.

While doubts will remain among habitually tax evaders on being hounded, it is advisable that those having tainted money come above board and pay up the 45 per cent penalty and enjoy the remaining portion of their wealth without fear. This is because with strict checks on transactions in cash economy it will increasingly become difficult to use the undisclosed income for consumption purposes or for investing in productive uses to see it grow. Moreover, the tax department has been constantly sharpening its data arsenal on undisclosed income and assets.

The IDS 2016 offer is a decent offer, according to tax experts. The 45 per cent you pay could be a pittance of what you might have to face if you are caught with undisclosed income after the IDS 2016 window is shut. Income tax laws provide for hefty penalties on tax-evaders which could be far in excess (often thrice as much as the tax you are required to pay under law) of what you need to part under IDS 2016. And what’s more, this could come with an added package of possible imprisonment of up to seven years.

By all accounts, the government is serious as tackling black money and wants to move away from the cash economy. So, why wait if you have undisclosed income that your are hiding from the authorities? Go ahead and avail the Narendra Modi government’s offer and have a sound sleep.

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