The government, in its renewed offensive against black money, plans to declare cash transactions above a certain amount “illegal”. It may also require tax-paying residents to inform the government before opening a bank account overseas.
This will “strengthen archaic laws and improve enforcement actions,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia told HT. “More checks and barriers will stop illegal-fund flow into and out of the country, and help more in search and seizure operations.”
Existing restrictions to curb black money include giving Permanent Account Number (PAN) on cash transactions above Rs 2 lakh, for sale or purchase of immovable property beyond Rs 10 lakh, paying of hotel and restaurant bills of Rs 50,000 and above, purchasing gold jewellery above Rs 2 lakh, and buying and selling of Rs 1 lakh worth of shares of an unlisted company, among others.
The government is now looking to increase the usage of PAN and Aadhaar numbers to include more transactions, and modify global tax treaties to get direct access to data in case of probes, Adhia said.
Undisclosed income from search and seizures conducted by the I-T department in 2014-15 and 2015-16 amounted to Rs 21,354 crore, while surveys yielded around Rs 22,475 crore.
Search and seizures are raids, which the I-T department conducts at both office and residential premises of tax evaders. During surveys, taxmen check the books of accounts of evaders and ask them to voluntarily disclose unaccounted wealth.
“Around 398 cases in HSBC leaks were detected and Rs 6,659 crore of illicit wealth was unearthed. Additional cases are under prosecution. In the ICIJ case, Rs 2,000 crore of black money has been recovered and 53 cases are under prosecution,” Adhia said.
Meanwhile, the revenue department is likely to unveil its first set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Friday on declaration of domestic black money, a senior government official said. HT first reported on May 2 that the government was looking to come up with such FAQs.