3:33 pm - Monday November 9, 2015

Black money compliance window will not be extended

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With concerns being raised over misuse of information declared under recently notified one-time black money compliance window, the government has assured that confidentiality of individuals, who wants to come clean, would be maintained. It has, however, made it clear that there will not be any extension on the September 30 deadline.

Revenue secretary Shaktikanta Das on Monday clarified that the provisions of Section 138 of the Income-Tax Act will be applicable to the information disclosed and full confidentiality will be maintained.

Those who want to disclose unaccounted assets will have to do so before September 30, and that there would not be any extension of the deadline for declarations, Das said at a workshop organised by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Monday.

He said, “A person can file disclosure online and information will be restricted to officers who require to know. Information will not be circulated far and wide. Confidentiality shall be maintained.”

The compliance window, a scheme which was declared as a one-time facility, allows declaration of unaccounted foreign assets along with payment of tax at rate of 60% (30% plus 30% penalty).

In the same workshop, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson Anita Kapur was also present. She said that she had reservations over the current compliance window being described as a “short” one.

“If you are an offender, why do you need so much time to declare. We have already given three months to make this declaration,” Kapur said.

“Beyond this date (September 30), any declaration of such foreign assets and income would attract tax rate of 120%,” said an I-T official.

ICAI president Manoj Fadnis told dna, “The purpose of organising such workshop was to get clarifications on the said schemes. People have various doubts in their mind regarding the disclosure. The companies and businessmen need more clarity to support the scheme.”

Fear of misusing information is the major problem which need to be addressed, though government has given assurance that there will be no misuse of the information made available to the income-tax department. Only specified officers will have access to such information and not all in the department,” said Fadnis.

He said, “There are some certain clauses in the new black money disclosures which need proper clarity. We have made our presentation on that points, which we are representing in a day or two to the ministry.”

According to the scheme under the window, such a declaration can be filed online by an individual or entity and mandatorily will have to carry a “digital signature” to validate it.

A digital signature authenticates electronic documents in a similar manner as a handwritten signature validates printed or hand-written documents.

This signature cannot be forged and it asserts that a named person wrote or otherwise agreed to the document to which the signature is attached.

According to PTI, in his address at the workshop, Das said that the compliance window being provided under the black money law should not be seen as an amnesty scheme.

Stating that the black money law was a comprehensive, non-discriminatory and fair legislation, Das said that certain provisions were stringent as they are meant to be, considering the magnitude and depth of the problem (black money menace).

“The government has found a balance between the two extreme views. The black money law is not meant to be an amnesty scheme. The compliance window is a one-time opportunity for assesses to come clean, to declare their assets and income stashed abroad,” he said.

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