Income tax department to target senior executives who have US bank accounts
December, 07th 2017
Tax authorities have begun acting on information that the US is sharing with India under that country’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca), sending enquiry notices to individuals with bank accounts in the US and potentially opening them up to prosecution on charges of concealing black money overseas.
Those getting such letters include a top-ranking executive at a multinational who moved back to India a few years ago. He’s been asked for an explanation regarding dividends received in his US bank account. Several other senior executives who have some financial footprint in the US have also received letters from the Directorate General of Income Tax (Intelligence & Criminal Investigation). India began exchanging such information with the US in September 2015 after signing up to Fatca.
The queries mostly relate to dividends, interest income and deposits in bank accounts of individuals who spent some time in the US, according to officials. It’s not clear how many such notices have been sent out. If the assets and incomes go back a few years but weren’t disclosed in last year’s scheme to regularise black money held overseas, the individuals could find themselves in trouble. The government had given people with overseas assets one last opportunity to disclose them under the scheme.
The Undisclosed Foreign Income And Assets (Imposition of Tax) Act made hiding wealth overseas a criminal offence with a punishment of up to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a 120% tax, effectively leading to asset confiscation.
“Information received under Fatca is subject to preliminary filtering and processing by the Directorate General of Income Tax (Intelligence & Criminal Investigation),” said a senior income tax official. “After preliminary verification it will be passed on to assessing officers for further action.”