More tax havens to share black money data with India
Several countries, including tax havens like British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and Jersey, have begun sharing information with Indian authorities, in a development that is expected to boost the government's efforts in tracking black money stashed abroad.
Sources said some of the information had already been verified, adding that the information flow was of great help in tracking Indians who have not disclosed wealth abroad. Apart from the global pressure on disclosure of information, the Modi government has also stepped up its efforts to get data, said sources.
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Black money - Switzerland discloses names of two Indians
The development comes at a time when Swiss authorities have released the names of seven Indians with bank accounts. Coming on the eve of the proposed compliance scheme for those with undisclosed wealth abroad, the information is expected to put pressure on individuals to come clean.
Tax department officials said that there are several queries on the compliance scheme, whose rules are close to finalization and are expected to be notified by the end of the month with a six month window expected to be announced shortly.
"We are close to finalizing the modalities and we are looking at every aspect to ensure that there is neither any misuse nor harassment," said a senior official who did not wish to be identified.
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Sources said that one key feature of the scheme will be to ensure that there are only two commissioner rank officers - one in Mumbai and the other in Delhi - to deal with the scheme. The notified states will come under the jurisdiction of one of the officers.
The department has already begun the hunt for officers "with highest level of integrity and excellent track record" to ensure that there is tight monitoring of the compliance scheme.
While releasing the rules the government also plans to release detailed FAQs given the spate of queries that it has received in recent months.
The sources said that the government will also assure individuals opting for the scheme that there will be no fishing expeditions and unnecessary investigation will not be undertaken by the department.
The compliance scheme is a one-time effort meant to enable people to make disclosures before the new law on black money kicks in from April.
Under the stringent provisions of the new law, concealment and non-declaration can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and is expected to prompt several people to opt for the proposed scheme, whose rules are being finalized.
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