Tax evasion will prove extremely costly: Jaitley

RSTV Bureau
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a CII Function in New Delhi on April 04, 2016. He issued a stern warning to tax evaders.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a CII Function in New Delhi on April 04, 2016. He issued a stern warning to tax evaders.

Following reports of some Indians having unaccounted wealth in tax havens, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today issued a stern warning to tax evaders who did not avail the compliance window offered by the government.

A German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has revealed details of top world leaders, celebrities having unaccounted money in tax havens. The revelation is based on an anonymous source who handed over encrypted data of a Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which is accused of money laundering.

Speaking at at CII function in New Delhi on Monday, Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the compliance window last year to declare illegal assets abroad will find “such adventurism extremely costly”.

The minister said global initiatives to deal with the menace of unaccounted wealth abroad will be in place by 2017, and then it would become extremely difficult for individuals to hide assets.

“With G20 initiatives, FATCA and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore, this kind of an adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it,” Jaitley said.

His statement comes on a day when a newspaper, based on leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, reported that over 500 Indians including some well known names figure in the list of persons having association with firms in tax havens.

Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the black money compliance window last year to declare undisclosed overseas assets will realise their mistake.

“I had come in for adverse comment including some of my friends here when in 2015 Budget we had announced a strong penal law against illegal assets abroad. At that stage I had said that those who committed mistakes in the past are getting last opportunity with a compliance window in place.

“The compliance window operated (and), many availed but probably some didn’t. Today when I see contrarian reports appearing (in media), which are not only impacting India…which are impacting the rest of the world. I think it is a stern reminder to all of us,” he said.