Black Money Bill with more teeth gets Rajya Sabha approval

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

The world is no longer willing to tolerate tax havens thriving in secrecy: Jaitley

The government maintained that all efforts will be made to bring black money stashed in tax havens back to the country as Parliament passed the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015 on Wednesday.

The Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, was returned by the Rajya Sabha after a discussion.

The Bill, brought as a money Bill, provides imposition of a 30 per cent tax on undisclosed foreign income or assets of the previous assessment year. Replying to a three-hour discussion on the Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Bill will help the Centre combat the menace of black money. “The world is no longer willing to tolerate tax havens which thrive in secrecy,” he said.

Jaitley maintained that the new law will not cover those having amounts equivalent to ₹5 lakh in bank accounts abroad, which may belong to students or those working there.

“The compliance window will provide an opportunity to people to come clean by declaring overseas assets and paying tax and penalty totalling 60 per cent,” he added. The Finance Minister said it is a tax which is being imposed on an asset or an income outside the country.

Compliance period

“Since the tax has been imposed for the first time, we are giving you a compliance period where you pay 30+30 per cent and then you can sleep well. And then also remember, if you don’t use this compliance window now, time will run out because by 2017 there will be a real-time automatic disclosure of information taking place,” he added.

Earlier, participating in the debate, Opposition members demanded stringent laws to punish the practice of keeping “dirty money.” Congress leader EM Sudarshana Natchiappan argued that the Bill should have provisions to address the issues such as double taxation avoidance agreements.

CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury urged the Centre to take up the issue with other governments.

“You are a government with 56-inch chest. You should take up the issue with other governments,” he said. He urged the Centre to increase the capital gains tax and prohibit participatory notes.

The Upper House also cleared a Bill to amend the Companies Act on Wednesday.

Published on May 13, 2015

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