Rs 65,250 crore in black or untaxed money has been disclosed by 64,275 declarants under the centre’s Income Declaration Scheme so far, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today. The four-month window for tax evaders to come clean on black money had ended on Friday.
Mr Jaitley said the figure will be revised upwards as the tax department is still processing some declarations.
Under the scheme, launched on June 1, those who had evaded taxes were given the opportunity to avoid punishment by paying tax, penalty and cess totalling 45 per cent of the undisclosed income. This means that the government will get around Rs 30,000 crore as tax revenue from the scheme.
The payments have to be made in three instalments till September 2017.
The first instalment of 25 per cent under the scheme will have to be paid by November 2016, followed by another 25 per cent by March 31, 2017. The remaining amount will have to be paid to the exchequer by September 30, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier warned black money holders of stringent action including imprisonment after September 30, when the scheme ended.
To encourage people to declare their undisclosed income, the government said that information contained in the declaration shall not be shared with any other law enforcement agency.
Also, there was no need to explain the source of income. The scheme applied to undisclosed income pertaining to financial year 2015-16 or earlier.
The tax revenue from the scheme will help the government bridge the budget deficit. India’s tax to GDP ratio is 16.6 per cent, which is much lower than the emerging market economy average of 21 per cent.
The government had last year come out with a similar scheme for Indians holding undisclosed income abroad under which assets worth Rs 4,164 crore were declared.
Black money has been a hot political issue in India. Ambit Capital has estimated the country’s black economy at Rs 30 lakh crore.
In 1997, the then United Front government had launched a tax amnesty scheme under which assets worth Rs 33,000 crore were declared.