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Posted on Dec 20, 07:33PM | IBNS
The Central Government has been vigorously pursuing the cases of black money stashed abroad and in bringing them back, said Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam on Thursday.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, he said, for this purpose, a five-pronged strategy has been adopted.
i) Joining the global crusade against 'black money' (for example out action in G 20, Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax purposes, Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development, Financial Action Task Force, UN, OECD, etc.);
ii) Creating an appropriate legislative framework: (various anti tax evasion measures legislated in existing Act and proposed in the DTC, New DTAAs and TIEAs, amend existing DTAAs);
iii) Setting up institutions for dealing with illicit funds (10 Income Tax Overseas Units, dedicated computerized Exchange of Information [EIO Unit], FIU);
iv) Developing systems for implementation (ne manpower policy); and
v) Imparting skills to the manpower for effective action (constant training for skill development).
Palanimanickam said while these measures have started yielding results, the government is facing difficulties to bring back the money deposited with the Foreign/Swiss banks on various grounds such as non-availability of official estimates of black money stashed abroad, lack of information on the identity of the account holders who possess illicit money in foreign banks, the prohibition of fishing expedition in the tax treaties, etc.
"Drive against tax evasion is a continuous and ongoing process," the minister said.
"The Income Tax Department takes several punitive and deterrent steps to unearth unaccounted money and curb tax evasion. These include scrutiny of tax returns, surveys, search and seizure actions, imposition of penalty and launching of prosecution in appropriate cases," he said.
"Information technology is also used in a systematic way for collection and collation of information to take action against tax evaders," said Palanimanickam.