Ignore tax queries, only to lose Rs 2 lakh

Tax authorities are empowered to use email or fax to issue summons or send notices

New Delhi: Failure to answer questions from the income-tax department can entail a penalty of up to Rs 2 lakh from the next financial year under the new black money law, which has got the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee. The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, provides for a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000. Besides, tax authorities would be able to send summons or notices via emails and fax to seek information from those under probe for suspected black money stashed abroad.

The Act got the President’s assent on Tuesday and will come into force from April 1, 2016. The new law, which has provisions to deal with the problem of the undisclosed foreign income and assets, was passed in the Rajya Sabha on May 13, two days after it got the Lok Sabha’s approval. According to the Act, a person shall be liable to a penalty if he has, without reasonable cause, failed to answer any question put to him, by a tax authority in the exercise of its powers.

The penalty will be imposed if he fails to sign any statement made by him in the course summons issued to him. The penalty “shall not be less than Rs 50,000 but which may extend to Rs 2 lakh”, it said.The law provides for a short-time compliance window for people having undeclared assets abroad to come clean by paying 30 per cent tax and 30 per cent penalty, before the Act comes into force.

The person making such declaration shall, in addition, be liable to penalty at the rate of 100 per cent of such tax, it said.The Centre is in the process of notifying the date and detailed procedure for those wanting to come clean on assets stashed abroad.

However, after the end of the short-term period, an assessee will have to pay 30 per cent tax, and its three times as penalty on the tax computed on undisclosed foreign income and assets, and face criminal prosecution which could result in an imprisonment of a term up to 10 years.

( Source : PTI )
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