IT Dept unearths over Rs.13,000 crore from offshore accounts

28 Jun 2016 | By Ramya
Curbing the growth of black money

The Centre's crackdown on those storing undeclared income in foreign bank accounts has started fetching results with the authorities of the Income Tax Department laid their hands on over Rs.13,000 crore.

Authorities have unearthed the black money from only two sets of information received in 2013 and 2011.

The details were given by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the French government.

In context: Curbing the growth of black money

15 Jun 2016Indian team to work on the black money issue

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Swiss leaders, a team of Indian officials would visit Switzerland soon.

Prompt action on the requests for details on Indians who had stashed black money in Swiss banks would be sought.

India and Switzerland were working on an agreement for exchange of such information from 2018; a high-level Swiss delegation had also met with Finance Ministry officials.

28 Jun 2016IT Dept unearths over Rs.13,000 crore from offshore accounts

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French GovernmentAuthorities laid hands on 400 Indian accounts

The French government in 2011 gave information regarding 628 Indians with deposits in HSBC, Geneva.

Nearly from 400 accounts, the IT authorities recovered Rs.8,186 crore of undisclosed income-the highest disclosure ever from overseas banks; officials also demanded a tax of Rs.5,377 crore against such accounts till 31 Mar'16.

Remaining 213 accounts were either inactive or had no money in them or belonged to NRIs.

Some entities untraceable

In the HSBC Geneva's case, some entities were untraceable. The IT report stated: "Out of the actionable cases, assessments have been completed in 398 cases, including those settled by the I-T Settlement Commission as well as cases where assessment proceedings have been dropped."

ICIJ ReportAbout 700 Indians named by ICIJ

Another set of information on overseas bank accounts was disclosed on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' website in 2013.

Based on ICIJ's report, authorities unearthed Rs.5,000 crore in offshore bank accounts linked allegedly to 700 Indians.

The IT department filed 55 prosecution complaints in criminal courts on the charges of willful tax evasion, based on false statements made by the entities during verification.

Prosecution ComplaintsEnforcement Directorate to take action under PMLA

The criminal courts, where prosecution complaints are registered, have already taken cognizance of most of the filed cases.

The courts thus paved the way for the Enforcement Directorate to take stringent actions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

In the case of accounts in HSBC Geneva, the IT authorities launched prosecution proceedings in as many as 75 cases, primarily for willful tax evasion.

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Black money holders filed declarations in 2015

The IT report showed that several Indians named in the ICIJ report had reportedly filed their declarations under the limited-period black money declaration window scheme that was launched by the government in 2015. However, such individuals weren't eligible for any relief.

DeadlineDeadline to disclose any undisclosed income

Jayant Sinha-Finance Minister (State) stated that more 'black money sources' would be unveiled as the government is pursuing such matters very aggressively.

Apart from offshore accounts, Sinha said that domestic black money account holders would be given deadline till 30 Sep'16 to disclose such income.

After the deadline, penalties would be levied; it would be an opportunity to such account holders to come clean.