The Finance Ministry on 21st September 2015 issued a press release advising the persons holding undisclosed foreign assets to file their declarations well within the time limit provided under the compliance window of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The one-time compliance opportunity provided under the Act will end on 30th September, 2015. The release also mentioned that failure to declare an undisclosed asset will entail severe consequences under the Act, including higher penalty, prosecution, and may also result in forfeiture of assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The Ministry also clarified that the information contained in the declaration will be kept confidential as Section 138 of the Income Tax Act will be applicable to the declarations. The process of filing declaration is simple and the declaration can be filed online also. It was also clarified that the fears of harassment of the declarants expressed in certain fora are totally unfounded.
The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 was enacted to deal with menace of black money stashed abroad. It penalizes the concealment of foreign income, and provides for criminal liability for attempting to evade tax in relation to foreign income. Under the Act provision for one-time compliance opportunity to persons holding undisclosed foreign assets is provided under which such persons are permitted to file a declaration before a tax authority for all assessment years, and pay a penalty at the rate of 100%. Otherwise the penalty for non-disclosure of foreign income or asset would be equal to three times the amount of tax payable, in addition to tax payable at 30%.
-Ministry of Finance