In an apparent effort at taking the sting out of yoga guru Ramdevs campaign against black money, the Union government on Friday revealed that an undisclosed income of more than Rs. 49,325 crore and tax evasion of Rs. 600 crore were detected following investigations based on banking information obtained from foreign countries.
Listing the measures the government had initiated since 2009 to combat black money, a 13-page fact-sheet, which the Ministry has released, details the significant progress achieved thus far through the multi-pronged exercise of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Income Tax Department.
The fact-sheet says the CBDT has detected an undisclosed income of over Rs. 32,000 crore, besides seizing assets valued at over Rs. 2,600 crore. This was in addition to the detection of an undisclosed income of Rs. 17,325 crore in surveys conducted on business premises by the IT Department.
The government is also pursuing 43,265 pieces of information on suspicious transactions received from overseas and domestic agencies. Of these, 12,500 pieces are about details of assets and payments received by Indian citizens in several countries. These are now under different stages of processing and investigation. And 30,765 pieces of domestic information about suspicious transactions, obtained by Financial Intelligence Units, are also under the scanner.
Furthermore, based on an investigation of information from Germany and France obtained under the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), tax evasion totalling Rs.600 crore has been detected, and Rs. 200 crore has already been realised in taxes, the fact-sheet notes.
In particular, under the Exchange of Information article of the DTAA with France, the government has received information about Indians having bank accounts this financial year. In 219 cases, the Department has detected an undisclosed income totalling Rs. 565 crore, and Rs.181 crore in taxes has so far been realised.
Focussed searches have been conducted in a number of cases in the current year on the basis of information received from foreign jurisdictions under the DTAAs, the fact-sheet says. Till date, India has entered into revised DTAAs with 84 countries and has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with nine tax havens.
Touching upon all aspects of black money, the fact-sheet notes that the Directorate of Transfer Pricing has detected mispricing of Rs. 67,768 crore since April last year, helping to prevent different companies from taking the profits out of the country. The Directorate of International Taxation has collected Rs. 48,951 crore in taxes from cross-border transactions in the last two financial years.
The fact-sheet appears to be aimed at countering the charges made by Ramdev and many of the details are a reiteration of what were given by the former Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, to drive home his point that the government was indeed serious about checking black money.
The fact-sheet also refers to the five-pronged strategy the government adopted, including the creation of an appropriate legislative framework and setting up of institutions to effectively tackle the problem. Among these are a study of unaccounted income and wealth, both in and outside the country, by three national institutes.
The study is being conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research, the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and the National Institute of Financial Management. It will be completed by December-end.
The report of the committee, headed by the CBDT Chairman, which was set up to examine the measures to strengthen the legal and administrative framework to deal with black money, has been sent to different Ministries and organisations and the State governments for action, the fact-sheet notes.
The Ministry has also sought to list the amendments that have been made through the Finance Act, 2012, to deal with the problem. Among the other measures are introduction of the General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to counter Aggressive Tax Avoidance Schemes and allowing for reopening of assessment up to 16 years of assets held abroad.