Parliament Clears Black Money Bill

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NEW DELHI: Giving a boost to unearth black money stashed overseas, the Parliament on Wednesday passed the Black Money Bill. The bill will put in strong deterrent for those who do not come clean in a one-time window being provided under the law and declared unaccounted foreign wealth.

India and other G-20 members have committed to a global framework on automatic information exchange. It will also receive information on assets held by its citizens from the US under FATCA. The bill was passed by voice vote in the lower house earlier this week. The detailed rules are likely to provide a 60-day window for offenders to come clean.

Those declaring unaccounted income or assets will pay a flat 30% tax and a similar penalty in return for not being prosecuted. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the road map on dealing with black money is very clear.

While the government will cooperate with the international community to get information, it will also put in place a domestic law that would act as a deterrent. He has said the government is also trying to squeeze out black money being parked in property and gold, without causing any shock.

He said the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was amended to help tax authorities pursue recovery through domestic assets as well in cases of those caught with overseas assets under the new black money law. The bill provides for the attachment of domestic property of those on the wrong end of the foreign assets law. The finance minister said the government would soon bring a law on Benami properties.

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