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India Says No Official Estimate Of Black Money In Swiss Banks For Last 10 Years

India entered into an information-sharing agreement with the United States of America.

NEW DELHI — The Indian government has no official estimate of black money stashed in the Swiss Bank for the last 10 years, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said on July 26.

Chaudhary said more than 107 prosecution complaints had been filed under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, in the past five years.

“As a result of systematic actions, as on May 31, assessment orders under section 10(3)/10(4) of the Black Money Act, 2015, have been passed in 166 cases, wherein demand of INR 8,216 crores ($1.103 billion) has been raised,” the minister said in reply to a question in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.

“The undisclosed income of approximately INR 8,465 crores ($1.13 billion) has been brought to tax and penalty of INR 1,294 crores ($173.7 million) has been levied in HSBC [bank] cases, the undisclosed income of approximately INR 11,010 crores ($1.47 billion) has been detected in International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) cases.” 

The Minister of State for Finance was responding to a question by Congress Member of Parliament Vincent Pala.

“In the Panama Papers Leaks cases, undisclosed credits of approximately INR 20,078 crores ($2.77 billion) have been detected, whereas, in the Paradise Papers Leaks cases, undisclosed credits of approximately INR 246 crores ($33.03 million) have been detected,” the reply said.

The Panama Papers were a massive leak of financial files from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the fourth-biggest offshore law firm in the world. The 11.5 million leaked encrypted confidential documents exposed the network of more than 214,000 tax havens involving people and entities from 200 different nations.

The Indian government also said that it had entered into an information-sharing agreement with the United States of America under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of the United States of America. 

“Income Tax Department takes appropriate action under relevant laws against the tax evaders. Such action under direct tax laws includes searches, surveys, inquiries, assessment of income, levy of tax, interest, penalties, etc., and filing of prosecution complaints in criminal courts, wherever applicable,” Chaudhary said. 

“India has been a leading force in the efforts to forge a multi-lateral regime for proactive sharing of financial information known as Automatic Exchange of Information which will greatly assist the global efforts to combat tax evasion. The Automatic Exchange of Information based on Common Reporting Standard commenced in 2017 enabling India to receive financial account information of Indian residents in other countries.”

“Indians’ funds in Swiss banks climb to INR 20,700 crore ($2.77 billion), highest in 13 years,” tweeted National Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress Shama Mohamed on June 18. 

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014 on the promise of bringing back black money from abroad. Instead, it has become easier than ever to stash black money in foreign banks without any repercussion!”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Praveen Pramod Tewari