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Union Cabinet Approves Black Money Bill

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The Union Cabinet on 17th March 2015 cleared a stringent law proposed in the budget to curb black money. The Black Money bill would be introduced in the Parliament in the current session. The Union Cabinet also approved signing of a crucial accord with the US on exchange of financial information which will supplement India’s own efforts to tackle the menace of black money.

Points to Remember:

  • Black Money bill makes concealing foreign assets and income from tax authorities a crime punishable with a 10-year jail term and 300% fine on the tax evaded.
  • Bill empowers the government to notify a window when people with undisclosed foreign funds can come clean.
  • The duration of this window along with the tax rate and penalty will be notified once Parliament clears the bill.
  • The bill also provides for prosecution and penalty of individuals, banks or institutions for abatement if they help anyone create or hide foreign assets.
  • The bill would be complemented by other legislation and measures, including a new Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill that is in the process of being finalized
  • The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill cleared by cabinet also enables enforcement agencies to attach and confiscate these assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The new bill announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech — requires people to declare foreign assets and income, including the date of opening their foreign bank accounts.

If people with asset abroad skip filing their returns or provide inadequate information, they will be liable to imprisonment for seven years.