The country’s revenue authorities were able to detect tax evasion of Rs 1 lakh crore owing to international cooperation and domestic surveillance, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday.
“Almost R1 lakh crore has been brought under the tax net in the last 18 months,” Mukherjee told Rajya Sabha replying to a general discussion on the Budget.
He said while the directorate of foreign taxation had detected tax evasion of R34,601 crore, mispricing in international transactions to the tune of R33,784 crore had also been detected and taxed. He said R25,000 crore was found during search and seizure operations.
“We may say it is inadequate and I will agree it should have been much more. But you can’t say it is nothing.” Mukherjee said different estimates pegged the quantum of black money stashed abroad at $500 billion to $1,500 billion, but there was nothing to substantiate those figures.
He said the government had appointed a committee of experts to estimate the quantum of black money. Mukherjee said the detection of unaccounted wealth had become easier due to measures taken by global leaders at the Pittsburgh Summit for exchange of banking and tax-related information.
Enumerating initiatives taken to trace black money stashed in tax havens abroad, Mukherjee said the government had entered into the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with 10 countries, including St Kitts and the Isle of Man. The minister said the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with 23 countries, including Switzerland, had been amended for seeking banking information.
India has signed the DTAA with 79 other countries and is planning to revise agreements with other nations too.
He said the tax-GDP ratio, which has come down to around 10%, should be raised to 12-14% so that the government can divert more resources for funding social sector schemes.