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Amnesty scheme for black money opens from Saturday

Offering a last chance to declare unaccounted money, the government announced Friday that the amnesty scheme for black money would be open from Saturday.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), people can come clean by paying 50 per cent tax and lock in 25 per cent of the total declared funds in interest-free bonds for four years.

The scheme will remain open till March 31, 2017. President Pranab Mukherjee gave his approval on Thursday to the amendments in the Income-Tax Act that were passed by the Lok Sabha in the just-ended Winter Session of Parliament. Under the amended law, those who don’t declare their black money and are later caught by the tax department will have to pay tax between 77 per cent to 100 per cent and also be liable to prosecution.

“We don’t want an inspector raj on people, so we request people to take the benefit of this scheme. We don’t want income-tax to go after people. We want people who have black money to understand we have all the information about their deposits,” said revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia. “We are getting information on a daily basis about every kind of deposit, from small deposits to large ones, and passing on these to the enforcement agencies. Be they in dormant accounts, Jan Dhan accounts, urban cooperative accounts or cash payments in loan accounts or in any other way… Some people were depositing less than Rs 2 lakhs in multiple accounts. We have all the information. They are under our radar,” said Mr Adhia.

He said all the data that comes in till December 31 will be analysed by professionals and dots will be connected. Mr Adhia said the tax department has done successful raids through data mining. He also said that those who declare funds under this scheme will enjoy amnesty from others laws like those on service and excise taxes and that the information submitted will be kept secret.

However, those who have made their money through illegal means will not be eligible for the amnesty. Mr Adhia said the scheme has been kept open for three and a half months so that people can file their returns properly and the department gets time to analyse all the deposits till December 30.

In the scheme, people will have to first file the tax and then submit the receipt with the income tax to become eligible for amnesty.

“Mere depositing of money in a bank account does not make it white. People should not make the mistake of thinking cash deposited in banks is white,” the revenue secretary said. Till taxes are paid and a full investigation is completed on the deposits made in bank accounts, the black money cannot become white, he noted.

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