Undisclosed income of over Rs 22,000 crore unearthed over past 2 years
The Income Tax (IT) Department conducted searches in 990 groups of assessees during last 2 years.
With mounting pressure on the government to live up to its electoral promise of bring back the black money overseas, the government on Monday said that several of the steps towards this and highlighted its accomplishments.
“While there is no official estimation regarding black money of Indians stacked in Swiss banks, recent media reports have quoted Zurich based Swiss National Bank as saying that money held by Indians in Swiss banks has fallen by nearly one-third,” said Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in reply to a Rajya Sabha question.
He added, “These reports also say that the funds, described by Swiss National Bank as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate to the quantum of alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland.
He announced that as part of enforcement measures, the Income Tax (IT) Department conducted searches in 990 groups of assessees during last 2 years (financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16), seizing undisclosed assets worth Rs 1,474 crore. These assessees admitted undisclosed income of Rs 21,354 crore. During the same period, 9,457 surveys conducted resulted in detection of undisclosed income of Rs 22,475 Crore.
Further, there has been significant rise in criminal prosecutions filed by the IT Department in last 2 years and number of cases where prosecution complaints were filed and offences were compounded during FY 2014-15 and 2015-16 is 3,140 as against 1,690 during FY 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Some of the steps that has helped in curbing black money are the tax treaties with 139 countries such as, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs), Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Multilateral Convention) and SAARC Multilateral Agreement.
“Appropriate action against tax evasion including in respect of unaccounted income stashed in foreign countries, is an on-going process. Such action under direct tax laws includes searches, surveys, enquiries, assessment of income, levy of taxes, penalties, etc. and filing of prosecution complaints in criminal courts, wherever applicable,”said Gangwar.
The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 has provided for more stringent provisions of penalties and prosecutions in respect of black money stashed away abroad, said Gangwar.
He also reported that the one-time three months’ compliance window closing on 30th September 2015 brought out 648 declarations involving undisclosed foreign assets worth Rs 4,164 crore were made. The amount collected by way of tax and penalty in such cases is about Rs 2,476 crore.