Once again pitching hard to crack down on the black money stashed abroad, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised a mechanism facilitating the declaration of hitherto undeclared wealth and assets of Indian nationals in the foreign countries.
Addressing industry representatives at the annual general meet of CII, Jaitely sought for suggestions improving structure of the “compliance window” in the proposed Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill 2015. ”A very reasonable compliance window would come for those who indulged in misadventure in the past,” Finance Minister told the delegates.
He emphasised that the purpose of a “compliance window” under the new black money law will be to give an opportunity to come clean on the assets stashed abroad by an individual.
The government had introduced the stringent Bill in the Lok Sabha to deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad. Besides the penal provisions and fines, the law provides for imprisonment of up to ten years for hiding foreign assets.
Jaitley further said that India will very soon become signatory in a global effort, which will make hiding foreign assets or undeclared money in foreign banks difficult. “Over the next 2-3 years, G-20 initiative for automatic exchange of information is going to take shape. India is going to become a signatory to the US law FATCA, and thereafter not only the US, other countries inter-se would also be discharging their obligation to each other “.
Finance Minister Jaitley also defended his decision on ‘tax reforms’ concerning the Industry. In his first General Budget for the BJP led NDA-2 government, Jaitley has proposed the relaxation of corporate tax from 30% to 20%.
Besides, Jaitley also promised to relook at certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act to allay apprehensions of the corporates. “The law commission has sent its recommendations that in the changed environment it requires a relook. Therefore a large number of criminal cases, both against industry and decision makers, which have in the last few years disrupted the economic and business environment of this country require to be seriously addressed by looking at the language of the Act,” he added.
Seeking to encourage a better interface between the government and the industry, Finance Minister asked the industry representatives to set up working groups to suggest changes in the law to streamline the decision-making process and ensure that errors and corruption cases are dealt separately.