Declare assets or face music, govt warns black money holders
Indians holding black money abroad will be given a last chance to disclose their overseas bank accounts or wealth to the government and avoid a jail term.
Revealing this, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha on Sunday said the failure to unveil assets abroad will invite a rigorous jail term of up to seven years, while concealment of income and tax evasion would result in 10-year imprisonment.
These provisions will be part of a Bill that the government plans to bring in the current session of Parliament to check the black money menace.
Dismissing the suggestion that government was proposing an amnesty scheme for black money holders, the Minister in an interview to PTI said: "There is no amnesty scheme. We have said very clearly, we expect everybody, who has any undisclosed wealth, accounts, so on ...outside the country should disclose that.
"We have created a window to do that. There is no amnesty at all. You have to disclose, what you have. You have a certain amount of time to disclose that...If they don't disclose, they will be liable to punishment of various imprisonment up to 7 years."
Elaborating on the proposed legislation, Sinha said the concealment of income and tax evasion could result in imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Moreover, as per the provisions, the account holder will have to mandatorily specify the date of opening of foreign account in the return of income.
Besides enacting a new law, the efforts to curb black money include changes in the benami transaction act and restrictions on acceptance of cash beyond Rs 20,000 as advance for real estate transactions.
While unveiling his budget proposals on Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that, "tracking down and bringing back the wealth which legitimately belongs to the country is our abiding commitment to the country.
"Recognising the limitations under the existing legislation, we have taken a considered decision to enact a comprehensive new law on black money to specifically deal with such money stashed away abroad. To this end, I propose to introduce a Bill in the current Session of the Parliament."
As per the proposal, concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets would be made a non-compoundable offence and would attract a penalty of 300 per cent.
Besides other things, the abettors of offences, whether individuals, entities, banks or financial institutions would also be liable for prosecution and penalty.