Sec­ond black money amnesty scheme gets tepid re­sponse

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Mahua Venkatesh

The much-hyped Prad­han Mantri Garib Kalyan Yo­jana (PMGKY) — the gov­ern­ment’s sec­ond in­come dis­clo­sure scheme — was availed only by 24,000 peo­ple as com­pared to around 65,000 in the first scheme.

The scheme, which was oper­a­tional between De­cem­ber 17, 2016 and March 31, had given a fresh win­dow to black money hoard­ers to come clean.

Sources said the tax amount from the scheme was about ₹6,000 -8,000 crore. “A high level of tax and penalty fixed on the dis­clo­sures was one of the key rea­sons for the scheme not at­tract­ing many peo­ple,” a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial told HT. Those avail­ing the scheme had to pay 30% tax on the undis­closed in­come, a penalty of 10% and a surcharge of 33% on the tax paid, which amounts to roughly 50%.

Another 25% of the amount was to be de­posited in a bank for four years with­out in­ter­est. Many shied away from avail­ing the scheme due to strin­gent clauses and taxes.

Be­sides, while the iden­tity of those avail­ing the scheme will be kept con­fi­den­tial and there will be no pros­e­cu­tion and penalty, they will not en­joy im­mu­nity from other laws, in­clud­ing the Pre­ven­tion of Money Laun­der­ing Act or Nar­cotics Act, among oth­ers.

The in­come-tax depart­ment, mean­while, ex­tended the dead­line for fil­ing re­turns un­der PMGKY un­til May 10. The win­dow is avail­able only to those, who paid taxes and penalty un­der the scheme by March 31.

The gov­ern­ment has also given them time to make the com­pul­sory de­posit of 25% of pre­vi­ously undis­closed in­come till April 30. A to­tal dis­clo­sure of ₹65,250 crore of un­ac­counted wealth in the form of cash and other as­sets was made dur­ing the ear­lier scheme, launched between June and Septem­ber last year. Un­der the scheme, peo­ple had to pay 45% of their undis closed wealth as tax — 30% tax plus a penalty of 7.5% and a simi lar 7.5% surcharge, but didn’t have to pay the levy up­front or put money for a lock-in pe­riod After the clo­sure of the In­come Dec­la­ra­tion Scheme (IDS) in Sep tem­ber, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jaitley said a to­tal 64,275 declara tions were filed on­line.

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