Tax paid in black money scheme must be white

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NEW DELHI: The income-tax department has said the tax payment for unaccounted assets declared under the black money scheme cannot be made out of any undisclosed income, making it clear that the money used to pay tax must be white.

A tax payer will get immunity under the scheme only in respect of unaccounted assets declared and not on the tax amount, which adds up to 45 per cent, in case it is paid out of unaccounted wealth, the department has clarified through a fourth set of ‘Frequently asked questions” on Thursday.

It explained the issue by way of an example. Suppose a person declares Rs 100 lakh as undisclosed income, being the fair market value of undisclosed immovable property as on June 1, 2016 and pays tax, surcharge and penalty of Rs 45 lakh (30 lakh + 7.5 lakh + 7.5 lakh) on the same out of his other undisclosed income. Effectively, this means that on a total undisclosed income of Rs 145 lakh, the person paid only Rs 45 lakh tax, or 31 per cent tax.

“In this case the declarant will not get any immunity under the scheme in respect of undisclosed income of Rs 45 lakh utilised for payment of tax, surcharge and penalty, but not included in the declaration filed under the scheme,” the department said. To get immunity under the scheme for the entire undisclosed income of Rs 145 lakh, one would have to pay tax, surcharge and penalty of Rs 65.25 lakh, the statement said.

Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, speaking at a FICCI seminar on the scheme on Thursday said, “45 per cent is 45 per cent. It is not 31 per cent.”

The department statement said tax payers can file a revised declaration but the amount cannot be less than what was initially declared. Giving comfort to those coming clean, it said a person making declaration under the scheme would not be selected for scrutiny under the scheme only on the ground that there is increase in capital in the balance sheet as a result of the declaration made under the scheme.

The 1 per cent tax at source and no capital gains would be levied when a person gets a benami property transferred in his name after making a declaration under the scheme. The department also clarified that no public servant can produce a valid declaration before any person or authority.

“We want people to clean up their books,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said at the Ficci function on Thursday, but warned those who did not use the earlier scheme for foreign assets. “Those who missed the bus have certainly missed the bus,” he said.

Under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016 rules, open till September 30, those declaring unaccounted assets have to pay a tax of 45 per cent (30 per cent tax, 7.5 per cent surcharge and 7.5 per cent penalty). The scheme provides that in case of a valid declaration the department will not make enquiry in respect of sources of income.