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National
Govt offers ‘window’ to black money holders to disclose assets
01-03-2015

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Sunday disclosed that it will offer a ‘window’ to Indians holding black money in foreign bank accounts to come clean but categorically ruled out any amnesty scheme for them.

A day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in his budget that a stringent law will be brought providing for up to 10 years imprisonment for concealment of income, the government said that foreign bank account holders would be provided a window to disclose their accounts and assets.

In an interview to PTI, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the failure to unveil assets abroad would 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.

Jaitley had said that the offences under these provisions would be non-compoundable and Sinha elaborated, saying that concealment of overseas income and evasion of tax will be prosecutable with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years.

In case of non-filing of returns or filing of returns with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets, the punishment will be rigorous imprisonment up to seven years. Sinha said penalty for concealment of such income and assets would be at the rate of 300 per cent of the tax.

The minister ruled out bringing any amnesty scheme. “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.”

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.