NEW DELHI: Suspected tax dodgers declared Rs 65,250 crore of undisclosed incomes and assets in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the outcome of the scheme “successful”, and said it was “a great contribution towards transparency and growth of the economy.”
The Centre had sent out around 7,00,000 notices earlier this year to suspected evaders. Income tax department offices were open till Friday midnight to allow people to make declarations.
Under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) launched by then UPA’s finance minister P. Chidambaram in 1997, the government had received 4.75 lakh declarations and tax revenue of Rs 9,760 crore.
However, in that scheme, those making declarations were given the discretion to
value their assets, like gold and real estate, at back-dated rates. There were allegations that the scheme led to large-scale under valuation of assets.
Mr Jaitley said both schemes are different and cannot be compared. While IDS is not an amnesty scheme, Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme provided blanket amnesty, he said.
“IDS’ tax rate was 45 per cent. In case of Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, it was 30 per cent, but effectively it was close to single digits because the assets were assessed as per their value in 1987 and not 1997," Mr Jaitley said. In the current scheme, those declaring assets had to asses them at their current market value.
Mr Jaitley also listed out steps taken in two years to unearth unaccounted money, including Rs 56,378 crore during search operation and Rs 16,000 crore from non-filers of tax returns.
Last year, under a similar scheme for black money stashed abroad, 644 declarations were received, yielding Rs 2,428 crore in taxes. Black money has been an intense political issue in India. Prime Minister Modi had during the 2014 elections pledged to bring back billions of dollars in black money if elected.