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Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 1842
TO BE ANSWERED ON 10.05.2016
Repatriation of black money
1842. Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Will the Minister of FINANCE be pleased to state:-
(a) whether Government has been able to repatriate any black money in the financial year 2015-16;
(b) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor;
(c) if Government has had any success in getting back black money through the scheme announced in Budget 2016-17; and
(d) if so, the details thereof?
MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE
(SHRI JAYANT SINHA)
(a) & (b): The Income Tax Department (ITD) is entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the tax evasion/black money cases and taking follow up actions such as assessment of income, levy of tax, interest & penalty and filing of prosecution complaints before criminal courts, wherever applicable. Other law enforcement agencies such as Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, etc. also take action under laws administered by them, depending upon facts of each case. The taxes, penalties, etc. levied by the ITD form part of the total tax liability of each assessee and is recovered in accordance with law. There are provisions for recovery of the same from the assets kept abroad also in accordance with legal instruments with relevant foreign jurisdictions. However, as per scheme of the Income-tax Act, 1961, only the demand/liability raised in relation to the assessed total income is recoverable and not the undisclosed income/black money per-se. Recognizing the limitations under the existing legislation [Income-tax Act, 1961, etc.], the Government has enacted a comprehensive new law on black money - The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The new law has also made the offence of wilful attempt to evade tax etc. in relation to undisclosed foreign income and assets a Scheduled Offence under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). This enables attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime of wilful attempt to evade such tax, etc. i.e. the black money stashed abroad, eventually leading to recovery of such undisclosed foreign income and assets/black money stashed abroad. Further, where property/ proceeds of crime is taken or held outside the country, PMLA has been amended through the Finance Act, 2015 enabling attachment and confiscation of property equivalent in value held within the country.
Besides the above, the Government has taken several other measures to effectively address with the issue of black money, particularly black money stashed away abroad. Recent such major initiatives of the Government include – (i) Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money under Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of two former Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Court, (ii) Proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/Multilateral Conventions, (iii) According high priority to the cases involving black money stashed away abroad for investigation and other follow-up actions including prosecutions in appropriate cases, (iv) While focusing upon non-intrusive measures, due emphasis on enforcement measures in high impact cases with a view to prosecute the offenders at the earliest for credible deterrence against tax evasion/black money, (v) Proactively furthering global efforts to combat tax evasion/black money, inter alia, by joining the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement in respect of Automatic Exchange of Information and having information sharing arrangement with USA under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), (vi) Introduction of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 to amend the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 with a view to, inter alia, enable confiscation of Benami property and provide for prosecution.
(c) & (d): The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016, as proposed vide Finance Bill, 2016; is yet to become a law.