Converting black money into legal tender: Govt warns against fraudulent cash deposit, withdrawal

Amid scathing attack from the Opposition over its sudden decision to ban old currency, the Narendra Modi government has now warned people against fraudulent cash deposit and withdrawal to convert black money into legal tender.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 17:31 PM IST
Converting black money into legal tender: Govt warns against fraudulent cash deposit, withdrawal

New Delhi: Amid scathing attack from the Opposition over its sudden decision to ban old currency, the Narendra Modi government has now warned people against fraudulent cash deposit and withdrawal to convert black money into legal tender.

The Ministry of Finance today warned that tax evasion activities by some people using other persons’ bank a/cs to convert their black money can be subjected to income tax and severe penalty.

The person who allows his or her bank account to be misused for this purpose can be prosecuted for abetment under Income Tax Act, it said in another tweet.

However, the Ministry of Finance assured that those with genuine money need not worry.

It also requested the common public not to fall in the trap of black money hoarders.

Among other measures, the Income-Tax (IT) department has made it mandatory to link the permanent account number (PAN) to cash deposits of a certain value and lowered the threshold for reporting of such transactions by banks. 

It has also introduced reporting requirements for cash deposits into current accounts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 said all existing Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes will cease to be legal tender from midnight in a crackdown on black money— untaxed and unaccounted-for income—and terror and drug financing using fake currency. 

The government set a December 30 deadline for people to deposit their old high-value notes in banks and post offices.

To keep track of such deposits and to ensure that tax evaders do not use the poor to legalise their illicit wealth, the IT department has notified fresh reporting requirements.

All cash deposits above Rs 50,000 in a day and those that aggregate to more than Rs2.5 lakh during  November 9-December 30 will be required to quote PAN.

This means that tax evaders cannot get away by making multiple deposits of less than Rs50,000 without providing their PAN—a common practice at present.

Also, banks and post offices will be required to report all deposits exceeding Rs2.5 lakh in the annual information return (AIR) sent to investigative agencies, as against the current ceiling of Rs10 lakh. These are part of the changes that have been notified by the I-T department after demonetisation.

A new clause on deposits in current accounts has also been introduced, wherein cash deposits of more than Rs12.5 lakh will have to be reported by a bank.

The government has taken a number of measures to ensure tax evaders do not go scot-free. From conducting surveys on jewellers and money launderers to using indelible ink to prevent the same people from lining up multiple times to exchange old currency, the government is looking to clamp down on tax evaders.