Modi govt lining up fresh trouble for cash hoarders

  • Timsy Jaipuria, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2016 12:08 IST
After tax, the attack has moved to the trade front, and officials are looking at movement of goods to trace undeclared income (AP File photo)

The battle against black money is gathering momentum.

With the initial crackdown on tax evasion beginning to yield results by way of information sharing by tax havens, the government is now broadbasing its battle against black money to include largescale customs evasion as well, senior finance ministry officials have said.

Several countries, including known ‘tax havens’, have started sharing information with the Indian tax authorities. The information has been made available to customs authorities to help them track the flow of black money via illicit trade.

“There are cases relating to incorrect and insufficient mapping of various trade policy provisions, lack of validation of entered data, permissions for too many manual interventions and alternations of data, etc. This exchange of information will help overcome these irregularities leading to evasion and black money generation,” one official told HT.

Sources said some of the information had already been verified, and is adding to the investigations including profiling of suspect individuals . Such exchange of information has hitherto been restricted to the income tax department .

“The information flow is of great help in tracking Indians who have not disclosed wealth either abroad or in the country,” the official said.

“Illicit trade is one of the most common ways to get in commodities like gold, diamond, machinery, electronic goods, memory cards, helicopters, automobiles and accessories and other commodities such as cigarettes, that yield handsome returns. It has been noted that inflow of these commodities, which happens from various ports, airports, land borders, often do not get detected, but are a great source of black money generation. Exchange of information will help in curbing these routes,” the official added.

Some of the nations which have contributed to this information are from West Asia, south-east Asia and some free port nations. Popular tax havens on the tax radar include Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc, the official said.

The central board of excise and customs (CBEC) detected about 2,889 cases of tax evasion involving Rs 13,335.61 crore during April 2010 till March 2015.

This new front, coupled with the Budgetary proposal of a compliance scheme for people to disclose hitherto undeclared income and wealth, are expected to put pressure on individuals to come clean, the tax officials said.

The rules for the compliance scheme to disclose domestic black money are yet to be finalised, they added.

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