Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government’s policy with regard to direct taxation is very clear, adding the ruling dispensation aims to gradually nudge the system to make India a tax paying society and not a tax evading society.
Jaitley, who was speaking at the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 program in Bengaluru, said taxation is the only source of revenue for the government.
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As part of enforcement measures, the IT department has conducted searches in 990 groups of assesses during the last two years (2014-15 and 2015-16), seizing undisclosed assets worth Rs. 1,474 crore.
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“In the year 2015, we gave an opportunity to the people, who have illegal assets abroad by opening a compliance window. We asked them to pay 30+30% of taxes at the earliest or face the consequences,” said Jaitley.
“If you look at the developed world or the emerging economy, and compare it with India, our tax rates are moderate as compared to the rest of the world,” he added.
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The government, Jaitley said, has taken several steps to effectively tackle the issue of black money, particularly black money stashed abroad.
“These include constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), constitution of a Multi agency group for coordinated probe on Panama leaks, renegotiating tax treaties to bring exchange of financial information clause to global standards, besides introducing the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Bill to enable confiscation of such properties and provide for prosecution,” he added.
Jaitley further said sustained and prompt action taken by the tax department in various cases involving black money has resulted into assessment of substantial amounts of undisclosed income, levy of concealment penalty and filing of criminal prosecution complaints for various offences.
“Technology is going to make tax evasion a lot more difficult,” added the minister while mentioning about the scheme, which is open till September 30.
Those declaring the Income Declaration Scheme will have to pay 25% of tax and penalty on income declared by November, another 25% by March 2017, and the remaining by September 2017.