Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that the income tax (I-T) department’ s ability to detect large cash transactions is being strengthened to check the menace ofblack money as the bulk of it remains within India and the government will soon make furnishing of PAN card details mandatory for cash transactions beyond a certain threshold.
The minister said that the bulk of black money is still within India and pitched for a change in attitude to make plastic currency the norm and cash an exception. Being seized of this problem, the government has been working with various authorities in order to incentivise this change. The opening of a large number of payment gateways, Internet banking, payment banks and the emerging reality of e-commerce will prompt the use of banking transactions and plastic money rise significantly, he said.
Jaitley also said that the government is at an advanced stage in considering the requirement of furnishing PAN card details if cash transactions beyond a certain limit are undertaken.
The government’s policy is to rationalise tax structures, taxation at reasonable rates, placing more money in the hands of small earners, encouraging and promoting the use of plastic money and creating deterrence against those who continue to use unaccounted money, he added.
Hinting at stringent action against those who failed to disclose foreign black money under the compliance window, Jaitley said that they now stand the risk of information on them reaching tax authorities while those who disclosed can sleep well.
He also described as “ill conceived” the comparison between the assessed income of Rs 6,500 crore in HSBC and Rs 3,770 crore declared during the compliance window saying these should not be treated as income under amnesty schemes.
He said that the previously assessed Rs 6,500 crore pertained to account holders in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein and HSBC Bank, Geneva, while declarations under the one-time compliance window by 638 persons totalled Rs 3,770 crore.
Jaitley blamed the high taxation regime in the past for encouraging tax evasion and said that the present government’s policy is rationalisation of tax structures, taxing at reasonable rates, placing more money in the hands of small earners, encouraging and promoting the use of plastic money by all sections of society and creating deterrence against those who continue to use unaccounted money.
Stating that Switzerland has agreed to share information in various cases, Jaitley said that the automatic exchange of information with various countries would also ensure that those with illegal assets abroad who have failed to make declaration would now stand the risk of information relating to them eventually reaching tax authorities.