`65K-crore un­cov­ered in black money dis­clo­sures

WIN­DOW ENDS Govt to net `30K-cr in tax rev­enue, FM says scheme a suc­cess

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The gov­ern­ment will earn an es­ti­mated `30,000 crore af­ter thou­sands of In­di­ans re­vealed pre­vi­ously un­de­clared money un­der a one-time op­por­tu­nity to clean up their ac­counts, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley said on Satur­day.

Jait­ley said `65,250 crore worth “black money” was dis­closed in the form of cash and other as­sets dur­ing a four-month win­dow — In­come Dis­clo­sure Scheme — that ended Fri­day. He said 64,275 dec­la­ra­tions were made with an av­er­age of `1 crore each fil­ing.

“With so many peo­ple declar­ing money, it shows (that a) sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple want to be­come tax com­pli­ant… it’s a very good fig­ure and if you take as part of all the steps that the gov­ern­ment has taken cu­mu­la­tively, these are very sig­nif­i­cant amounts,” he said at a press con­fer­ence. The ad­di­tional rev­enue will be used for wel­fare schemes, Jait­ley said. Black money arises mainly from in­comes not dis­closed to the gov­ern­ment, usu­ally to avoid tax­a­tion and some­times be­cause of its crim­i­nal links.

Act­ing on a pre-poll promise, the gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­ated sev­eral steps to repa­tri­ate crores of ru­pees in slush funds or black money stashed in safe havens abroad.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment has been fac­ing op­po­si­tion pres­sure to act since the re­lease of fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments in April nam­ing com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als who al­legedly dodged taxes by set­ting up shell com­pa­nies and ac­counts through bro­kers based in Panama.

The so-called ‘Panama Pa­pers’ in­clude the names of about 500 In­di­ans who have al­legedly in­vested in off­shore com­pa­nies.

“In Panama cases, 250 ref­er­ences have been given to other coun­tries and in­ves­ti­ga­tion is pro­gress­ing in good pace. Peo­ple who fig­ured in the HSBC list, about Rs 8,000 crore as­sess­ment have been com­pleted…164 pros­e­cu­tions have been filed,” Jait­ley said.

He said the declarants have the flex­i­bil­ity of paying their taxes — in­clud­ing 7.5% penalty and 7.5% sur­charge — in in­stall­ments up to Septem­ber 2017. How­ever, 50% of the amount must be paid by March.

The ad­di­tional rev­enue will help the gov­ern­ment meet its fis­cal deficit tar­get of 3.5% for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, Jait­ley said.

In 2015-16, the gov­ern­ment’s to­tal tax col­lec­tion — di­rect and in­di­rect — stood at Rs 14.60 lakh crore.

Re­fus­ing to com­pare IDS with the vol­un­tary dis­clo­sure scheme of 1997, Jait­ley said the ear­lier scheme fetched Rs 9,760 crore in taxes.

Modi com­pli­mented the tax de­part­ment and those who availed the scheme.


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