Black money: Willing to walk extra mile to address concerns over IDS, says Govt

Promising confidentiality on black money disclosures, government Monday said it is willing to walk the extra mile to address any concerns and incorporate "positive suggestions" on the one-time compliance window provided to undeclared wealth holders to come clean.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 25, 2016, 19:27 PM IST
Black money: Willing to walk extra mile to address concerns over IDS, says Govt

New Delhi: Promising confidentiality on black money disclosures, government Monday said it is willing to walk the extra mile to address any concerns and incorporate "positive suggestions" on the one-time compliance window provided to undeclared wealth holders to come clean.

Almost half-way through the 4-month window provided to undeclared wealth holders to come clean by paying a cumulative tax and penalty of 45 percent, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said the government has an open mind to address any concerns or suggestions on the scheme.

"We have an open mind and will clear all your doubts. Please write to us with whatever doubts you have, we will walk that extra mile to clear them," he said at a seminar organised on Income Disclosure Scheme 2016.

The window opened on June 1 and provides an opportunity to persons who have not paid full tax in the past to come forward and declare the undisclosed income by paying tax, surcharge and penalty, totalling to 45 percent of the income declared.

"Government is coming to you with an open mind and whatever suggestion you give we will try to take them into account," he said, asking the industry to adopt a positive attitude.

Positive suggestions coming will be incorporated in the IDS, he added.

"We have given in writing that information will not be shared with other agencies," he said promising confidentiality of information.

Section 138 of the Income-tax Act has been imported to the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 that provides for treating material disclosed as confidential. It also provides for such "classified material" not being produced or used in court except in order to institute or assist in the course of a prosecution for any offence committed in relation to tax.

IDS provides for immunity from prosecution under the Income-tax Act and Wealth Tax Act alongside immunity from the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

Exhorting people to declare undeclared wealth, Meghwal said: "If your child is capable enough he will earn his own living. Why then are you not disclosing your actual income?"

CBDT Member Rani Singh Nair said the tax and penalty rate of 45 percent are not very high considering that a compliant assessee pays about 35 percent tax and keeping it below 45 percent would be "discouraging" the morale of honest tax payers.

She said new laws are coming which will make keeping undisclosed money difficult.

"We hope Benami properties bill will be passed in (ongoing) Monsoon Session... This is the time to come forward to pay taxes and live the life of a compliant tax payer," Nair said.