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Black Money Bill: Any non-disclosed income or asset outside India will attract 90% penalty

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By Harshmeet Singh

Moving forward on its long standing commitment of bringing back the illicit Indian money concealed abroad, the Modi Government, on Friday, finally tabled a bill in the Lok Sabha which would cover such offences. Called the ‘The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015’, it would come into effect (if passed by the Parliament) beginning from 1st April, 2016.

The official statement before the introduction of the Bill said “In order to fulfil the commitment made by the Government to the people of India through the Parliament, the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 has been introduced in the Parliament on 20.03.2015.  The Bill provides for separate taxation of any undisclosed income in relation to foreign income and assets. Such income will henceforth not be taxed under the Income-tax Act but under the stringent provisions of the proposed new legislation,”

Major provisions of the Bill

The Bill includes the following penalties to be levied upon Black money holders –

Any non-disclosed income or asset outside India would attract a penalty tax, which would be thrice the normal tax slab of 30%, making it 90%. Significantly, this penalty would be over and above the normal tax payable at 30%.

  • If the individual doesn’t furnish returns on his / her foreign income or asset (even if there is no taxable income), it would result in a penalty of Rs 10 lakh. However, undisclosed foreign accounts worth less than Rs 5 lakh won’t attract any penalty.
  • Apart from the hefty fines, the wilful offenders of tax evasion would also be slapped with a rigorous imprisonment for a period of 3 to 10 years.
  • If the person fails to furnish returns on the foreign assets and income held by him / her (even if there is no taxable income), it would attract a rigorous imprisonment for a period ranging from 6 months to 7 years.
  • Aiding or enticing in filing a false return or incorrect declaration would also result into a rigorous imprisonment for a period ranging from 6 months to 7 years. This clause is also applicable to the financial intermediaries and Banks who assist in such secrecy. The beneficial owners of the asset would also come under the purview of this provision.

Safeguards in the Bill

Following the principles of natural justice, as mentioned in our constitution, the proposed bill contains multiple provisions for ensuring that the accused gets enough chances to prove his / her innocence. The bill calls for obligatory issue of notices to the accused, a fair chance of being heard, providing orders in writing, acceptance of the evidence brought forth by him to prove his stand and much more. Furthermore, the accused would also have the right to appeal to the ‘Income tax appellate tribunal’, the concerned High Court and the Supreme Court, if needed.

To encourage voluntary disclosure, the bill also provides for a one time reprieve to all those who would be willing to voluntarily disclose their illicit money or assets stashed abroad. This provision is applicable only for a limited period wherein the person must disclose his / her foreign asset and file a declaration to the concerned tax authority by paying the legitimate tax and the penalty. Notably, this isn’t a pardoning clause since the person would still be slapped with the penalty in proportion to the undisclosed assets. However, the persons making voluntary disclosures won’t be prosecuted under the harsh provisions introduced in the Bill.

The bill also seeks to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and bring ‘concealment of income and evasion of tax in relation to a foreign asset’ under its purview as a ‘predicate offence’. This move would empower the enforcement agencies to impound the foreign assets in question and begin its proceedings. The date of opening of the foreign account has also been made a mandatory disclosure under the proposed bill.

 

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Facts About Parliament Of India You Didn’t Know Before

Parliament of India is the supreme legislative authority in India

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Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Parliament of India is the supreme legislative authority in India
  • Indian Parliament is divided into two houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
  • Indian Parliament is one of the biggest and has a very intricate architecture

Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. It controls and creates all the bills and laws in the country. Parliament of India is bicameral. It is divided into two parts namely Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is called the Lower House and Rajya Sabha is referred to as the Upper House.

Parliament of India is the largest legislative authority in India.
Parliament of India is the largest legislative authority in India.

Rajya Sabha has 238 members wheres the Lok Sabha seats are 545 is number. The term of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are 6 years and 5 years respectively. The head of the Parliament of India is the Indian President. The proceedings in Lok Sabha is controlled by the speaker of Lok Sabha whereas, in Rajya Sabha, there is a chairman.

Apart from these basic facts, here are some other interesting Indian Parliament facts you may not have known before:

  • Parliament of India is called the Sansad or Bhartiya Sansad
  • The Parliament of India is circular in shape which represents the “Continuity.” The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha halls are constructed in the shape of a horseshoe.

    The carpet colours of the halls of Lok sabha and Rajya sabha also hold significance. KPN
    The carpet colours of the halls of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also hold significance. KPN
  • The carpets in the halls of the Parliament of India are also very significant. Lok Sabha’s hall’s carpet is green in colour which represents the people that are elected from grass root level. The hall of Rajya Sabha is adorned with red carpet which denotes royalty and is a constant remembrance of the struggle faced by our freedom fighters.

Also Read: Lok Sabha passes the Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017

  • The library in the Parliament House is the second largest library of India after the National Library in Kolkata.
  • Indian Parliament has a canteen, and it is the cheapest canteen in the country with a 3-course veg meal available for Rs. 61 only.

    Parliament of india is circular in shape which denotes continuity.
     Indian Parliament is circular in shape which denotes continuity.
  • Rishang Keishing is the oldest members who served the Parliament of India. He was a member of Rajya Sabha twice and retired at the age of 92.
  • The first female speaker of Parliament of India was Meira Kumar.
  • According to rules between two sessions of parliament, there should not be a gap of more than 6 months.

Also Read: Reservation Quota for Women in Parliament finds support at Kumaon Literature Festival

  • In Parliament of India, as per common practice, Question Hour starts at 11 a.m. where MPs put forward their questions. The Zero Hour starts at 12 noon where MPs can discuss general questions.
  • The office of President in the Parliament is in the room no. 13, which is considered inauspicious by many.