The war against black money stashed abroad appears to have slowed down in the first nine months of 2022-23 compared with the previous two years, with just 59 assessment orders pertaining to tax demands aggregating to ₹2,098 crore being passed.
In 2020-21, 120 such orders were passed under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, raising demands adding up to ₹ 7,055 crore. The following year witnessed 183 orders being completed with regard to tax dues of ₹5,350 crore.
Overall, assessments under this 2015 law have been completed in 408 cases, raising tax demands exceeding ₹15,664 crore. “As on December 31, 2022, 127 prosecutions have been launched under the provisions of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015,” Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed the Rajya Sabha.
In the Panama and Paradise Paper Leaks cases, undisclosed income of more than ₹13,800 crores had been brought into the tax net by December 2022. “More than 250 India-linked entities have been identified in Pandora Paper Leaks,” the minister informed. Further, undisclosed income of more than ₹8,468 crore had been taxed, with a penalty of more than ₹1,294 crore, from deposits in unreported foreign bank accounts in the HSBC cases, he added.
In response to a question on offshore shell companies whose ultimate beneficiaries are Indian citizens, Mr. Chaudhary said that such companies were not defined in the Acts administered by the Finance Ministry and details about such firms owned by Indian citizens was not available.
However, he added that the government had entered into exchange of information mechanisms with other countries for administration of taxation and enforcement laws for various purposes, which may include offshore companies.
“India has been at the forefront in the global crusade against offshore tax evasion. India actively engages with the relevant international bodies working on the implementation of international standards on exchange of information across the world,” Mr. Chaudhary asserted.