New Delhi, March 19 The Lok Sabha is likely to take up on Friday the cabinet-approved anti-black-money bill that proposes a short window to overseas income tax assessees to declare assets, pay tax and penalty and avoid imprisonment.
A senior finance ministry official here told IANS on Thursday that the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015, will be tabled on Friday, the last day before parliament goes into its scheduled month-long recess.
The bill could thereafter be referred to parliament’s select committee for scrutiny before being taken up for passage by the houses.
It provides for a maximum of 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for tax evasion in relation to foreign assets.
Under its provisions, concealing foreign income and assets will be non-compoundable and offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission for resolving disputes.
There will also be a penalty at the rate of 300 percent of taxes on the concealed income and assets.
The new legislation will provide that income in relation to any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from any foreign asset will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate.
A beneficiary of foreign assets will be mandatorily required to file returns, even if there is no taxable income.
The bill also seeks to make non-filing of income tax returns or filing returns with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets liable for prosecution with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to seven years.
An Indian Express report last month said that 1,195 Indians were in the list of clients who held accounts in HSBC Bank’s Geneva branch from 2006-2007.
Reacting to the report, Finance Minister Jaitley said the government has completed assessment of 350 foreign accounts while tax-evasion proceedings have been initiated against 60 account holders.
India has strongly advocated the fast implementation of the automatic exchange of tax information globally, within the time-frame agreed by the G20 countries, in the backdrop of media reporting names of Indian account holders in HSBC Bank’s Swiss branch.
At the G20 Brisbane summit last November, leaders endorsed a new global transparency standard by which more than 90 jurisdictions will begin automatic exchange of tax information, using a common reporting standard by 2017-2018.
India has no official estimates of illegal money stashed away overseas, but the unofficial ones range from $466 billion to $1.4 trillion.