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March 18, 2017

Centre gets Rs 6,000 crore as tax on stashed cash

New Delhi, Mar 18: Vice-chairman of the special investigation team (SIT) on black money, Justice Arijit Pasayat, said on Friday that after demonetisation, the Centre has collected around Rs 6,000 crore as tax on unexplained cash deposits so far, and the amount could go up.

blackTax authorities sought explanation from individuals, who deposited substantial amount of cash after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, either in their own account or in the name of others.

Many later agreed to avail the amnesty scheme which earlier allowed compounding by payment of 60% of the deposits as tax, now hiked to 75%.

"Tax authorities have so far collected around Rs 6,000 crore," said Pasayat, who with SIT chairman Justice M B Shah supervises the drive against black money by the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes and other agencies.

The SIT VC refused to hazard an estimate of tax that would be collected from unexplained cash deposits as a fallout of demonetisation but exuded confidence that the amount could be substantial. He said that in the first phase of the post-demonetisation drive against black money, focus was on cash deposits of Rs 50 lakh or more.

Emails and SMSes have been sent to all such depositors. Many opted to avail the amnesty schemes for compounding by paying up the stipulated steep tax. As an example, he said in a state like Odisha, generally considered poor, there were thousands who responded to such emails and SMSes.

"As many as 1,092 people, who had deposited over Rs 50 lakh, have not yet responded to notices," he said outlining the massive task the tax authorities face in examining each and every case of unexplained cash deposited.

"The authorities, while examining the huge bank deposits, will finally have to come down to the macro level at some point of time to examine sudden huge deposits of cash in even Jan Dhan accounts. The exercise will be tedious and time consuming. But the tax authorities are determined to undertake this workload," he said.

Businessmen, who made huge deposits, have been asked to submit balance sheets of last three years along with income tax declarations for every year.

"The onus is on those who have deposited huge cash to explain the source," he said. The authorities have been asked to be very strict with government officials who have deposited large amounts as the entire unexplained money deposited by them would be confiscated given the applicability of Prevention of Corruption Act.

"A divisional forest officer (DFO) in Odisha has deposited Rs 2.5 crore in cash. How could he explain the source? It has to be confiscated as it could be nothing except a bribe," he said. On Panama papers, which gave over 500 names of Indians and NRIs who floated offshore shell firms for tax evasion via law firm Mossack Fonseca, Pasayat said notices were issued to all but more than 200 refused to respond. "Authorities have launched prosecution against 45 people," he said.

Centre gets Rs 6,000 crore as tax on stashed cash

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