NEW DELHI — With barely three days to go for the budget session of the Lok Sabha to end, the government is set to move the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets Bill, or the black money bill today.
The lower house sitting has been extended for three days from today onwards.
The government had, in March, introduced the black money bill, which provides for heavy penalties and imprisonment of up to 10 years for stashing unaccounted funds abroad.
It will also provide a window to those with funds abroad to come clean by paying tax, interest and penalty.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has warned corporates not to take unfair advantage of the liberalised tax environment, saying the world is moving towards a more transparent regime that would remove the veil of secrecy from unlawful transactions.
"I think, for every assessee, every person in the commercial business also, it is a judgement call that in a liberal economic environment of reasonable and lower taxation rates, 'go straight'," he said earlier this month at the foundation day celebrations of the enforcement directorate.
"And, therefore, if you transact within the limits of law, it is much safer. If you breach it, gone are the days where offences would go undetected," he added.
He also said that the G20 group of countries' initiative on automatic transmission of information will make every monetary transaction transparent by 2017.
At the G20 Brisbane summit last November, leaders endorsed a new global transparency standard by which more than 90 jurisdictions will begin automatic exchange of tax information, using a common reporting standard by 2017-18.
The Income Tax department has filed 121 cases of prosecution against those entities whose names have appeared in the HSBC Geneva bank list.
A senior official told IANS the 121 cases were filed before the March 31 deadline after which these cases would have become time-barred and thus could not be prosecuted by the department.
The finance minister has recently said the government had completed an assessment of 350 foreign accounts and tax evasion proceedings had been initiated against 60 of the account holders.
India has no official estimate of illegal money stashed away overseas, but unofficial assessments put it somewhere between $466 billion and $1.4 trillion.
Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha earlier this week that the government was examining the reports of three institutes on the matter.
The previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had in March 2011 asked the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) to estimate unaccounted income and wealth inside and outside the country.