No estimate of black money in Swiss banks: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
India has no authentic estimate of black money stashed by Indians and enterprises in Swiss banks, the FM said.
In a reply to a question in Lok Sabha the finance minister stated that some recent media reports, however, say that deposits by Indians in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches, have reduced by nearly 6% in 2018.
In her reply Sitharaman said that government is taking persistent measures to detect and tax the unaccounted income and assets of Indians in Switzerland, which include Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under which India will receive the information of financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis beginning September, 2019.
The finance minister stated that India has called for co-operation among different countries to fight corruption at various international fora such as G20 and BRICS.
“Leaders also agreed to renew commitment to pursue high level international cooperation between G20 members in the fight against corruption,” she stated adding that in the joint statement on BRICS Leaders’ Informal Meeting on the margins of G20 Summit, BRICS members agreed to promote international anticorruption cooperation and strengthening of legal frameworks.
Sitharaman noted that the government has taken several concrete steps to crack down on black money in and outside the country by introducing stringent laws.
“In order to lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 was passed by the Parliament,” she stated.
There were 8.44 crore tax payers in the country for assessment year (AY) 2018-19, said minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur. “The number of taxpayers for Assessment Year 2018-19 was 8.44 crore, which included persons who filed a return of income for Assessment Year 2018-19 as well as persons who did not file a return of income but in whose case tax has been deducted at source during Financial Year 2017-18 (relevant to Assessment Year 2018-19),” he noted in reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
Thakur stated that the government has fixed a target of adding 1.3 crore new income tax return filers during the current financial year as against 1.1 crore new filer added during FY 2018-19.
For achieving this target, various measures are being taken including identification of potential non-filers through centralized Non-filer Monitoring System (NMS), he said noting that the recommendations of a Committee which examined the feasibility of granting certain privileges to eligible taxpayers are under consideration of the government.