“Taxes collected so far amount to Rs 153.88 crore in Panama and Paradise Paper Leaks. Additionally, in 52 Panama and Paradise Paper Leaks cases, complaints of criminal prosecution under the black money law have been filed. In addition , 130 procedures have been initiated under the law, “said Minister of State (MoS) for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary, in a written response to Rajya Sabha.
The government has taken proactive measures whenever credible information has been received regarding black money hidden abroad, be it in HSBC cases, ICIJ cases, Paradise Papers or Panama Papers, he said.
Various agencies are currently investigating Indians who have allegedly hidden wealth abroad, as revealed in the Pandora Papers leak in October this year.
“Some Indian names have been published in the media that are supposedly linked to the Pandora Papers leak. The government of India has become aware of the same and, for the purpose of a coordinated and swift investigation, brought the leakage of Pandora documents under the umbrella of the Multiple Agency Group (MAG), which has been established under the convocation of the President of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. (CBDT), with the Compliance Directorate (ED), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU) and the Foreign Tax and Tax Investigation Division of CBDT as member agencies ” Chaudhary said.
The tax department has carried out searches and seizures, surveys, inquiries, evaluation and reassessment of income, collection of taxes together with interest, imposition of penalties, filing complaints of prosecution in criminal courts for those who violated provisions of various laws administered for Income Tax. Department such as the Income Tax Law, 1961, and the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Taxation Law, 2015, among others.
So far, proceedings have been initiated under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act and Tax Levy of 2015 in 130 cases.
The Panama Papers refer to the 11.5 million leaked encrypted confidential documents that were owned by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents were released on April 3, 2016 by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), calling them the “Panama Papers”.
In October 2021, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaked 11.9 million files containing names of politicians, businessmen and celebrities from more than 200 countries and territories suspected of hiding and laundering foreign currency abroad. The list included more than 300 Indians.
The Finance Ministry also released information on the amount of undisclosed income recovered so far from Indians that were linked to hidden accounts abroad through previous similar leaks, such as Panama and Paradise Papers.
The Finance Ministry told Parliament that in 2019-20, Rs 10,370.47 crore of such undisclosed revenue was seized and in 2020-21 Rs 4,145.42 crore were seized.
“Sustained investigations in the HSBC cases have revealed undisclosed income of more than Rs. 8466 crore which has been taxed and, in the cases revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaks in high Mar, more than Rs 11,010 crore in credits in Foreign accounts have so far been detected, ”said Chaudhary.
The government also said that there is no official estimate of the amount of black money found in foreign accounts over the past five years, although 2,476 crore has been collected as a tax and penalty under the three-month compliance window. for the only time during 2015.
Up to 648 disclosures involving undisclosed foreign assets worth Rs 4,164 crore were made in the one-time three-month compliance window closed on September 30, 2015 under the Black Money Act (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets ) and Taxation, 2015.
Chaudhury also listed the various measures taken by the government against hidden black money, including the following:
(i) India has been a leading force in efforts to forge a multilateral regime for the proactive exchange of financial information known as Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI), which will greatly aid global efforts to combat tax evasion.
(ii) A Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money was formed in May 2014 and has been closely monitoring all cases involving substantial black money / undisclosed income.
(iii) The Government enacted a new comprehensive and stricter law, namely, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Tax Levy Act of 2015, which came into effect as of July 1, 2015. In addition to prescribing stricter criminal consequences, this law has included the crime of deliberate attempt to evade taxes, etc.
(iv) The Government has constituted a Group of Multiple Agencies in relevant cases, requesting definitive information from foreign jurisdictions, taking the black money to taxes under the relevant law, initiating proceedings against offenders, etc.