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Income tax department to catch hold of black money holders after September 30

New Delhi: All "consequences" of law will follow and the taxman will go after black money hoarders who do not declare their illegal funds before the expiry of a one-time 90-day "compliance window" on September
PTI September 22, 2015 0:07 IST
PTI

New Delhi: All "consequences" of law will follow and the taxman will go after black money hoarders who do not declare their illegal funds before the expiry of a one-time 90-day "compliance window" on September 30, the CBDT chief warned on Monday.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making body of the income tax department, also made it clear that all anti-harassment and pro-confidentiality procedures have been put in place by it for those people who want to avail this window before the September 30 deadline followed by payment of taxes and penalty before December 31.

"Tomorrow, if it is known that there is some wrong or no filing by a person holding black money, then the accountability rests with that person. If you do not use the (one time black money declaration) window, then we assume that you deliberately hid your foreign asset. When you avoid law then all consequences of law should follow ...," CBDT chairperson Anita Kapur told PTI.

The top boss of the I-T department said the board is constantly trying to strengthen its information systems in both the domestic and international arena in order to create the "capacity to catch hold of such people who are spoiling country's tax compliance culture."

She also refuted allegations that people are being harassed under the new anti-black money law saying while the law is yet to come into force, it has been made robust by ensuring confidentiality and commitment of no further inquiry to a declarant.

"The new act has not been implemented as of now in its full force. It will come into action after September 30. There could be some vested interests who are trying to create this air (of harassment) and vitiate the atmosphere so that my tax officers gets scared in chasing the tax offenders," she said.

Kapur said such a claim of harassment could not be levelled under the new black money act and its compliance window as the CBDT has created and rolled out the rules very carefully.

"We have appointed only one officer in the entire country to deal with these cases. Moreover, a person wishing to use this window does not even have to go to this officer. One can do an e-filing and we are giving a commitment that we are not making any further inquiries about such a declaration," she said.

Kapur, who had been instrumental in putting in the procedures and rolling out the new act along with her other colleagues in the finance ministry, emphasized that the new act "ensures full confidentiality" to a declarant.

"Full confidentiality will be maintained as section 138 of the Income Tax Act (disclosure of information respecting assesses information to specified officer) has been imported into the new act also. It is overriding in the new act."

The black money bill (The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015) provides for tax and penalty of 120 per cent and jail term of up to 10 years for holding undisclosed foreign assets. It has also provided for a 90-day compliance window to escape the harsh punishment by declaring the assets and paying 60 per cent tax and penalty.

Kapur said for those who do not want to file an online declaration in this regard they can always meet the designated commissioner rank officer in Delhi for any query or help that is required on this front.

"The designated officer and his office is not there to inquire into anything. It is just a window to listen," she said.

The CBDT chief said it was important for her department to ensure action and justice in tax evasion and black money cases as non-action demoralizes a compliant taxpayer.

"When a compliant taxpayer sees that a non-compliant taxpayer is not visited by either the economic cost or he is not being put behind bars and there is no action being taken, then the compliant taxpayer gets spoiled," she said.

The finance ministry has also issued two separate sets of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the compliance window till now.