The government has raised tax demand of Rs 5419 crore on individuals who had undisclosed offshore accounts with HSBC of which around Rs 337 crore has been recovered. Providing an update on the action taken in the HSBC list matter, the revenue department has informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that 190 prosecution complaints have been filed against various entities. The revenue department recently submitted a status report on HSBC foreign accounts to the PAC following queries by its member and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of parliament (MP) Nishikant Dubey, who has been vocal in flagging concern about illicit fund flows.
Names of as many as 628 entities, including individuals holding undisclosed foreign accounts with HSBC’s Swiss banking arm, came to the notice of the government a few years back by way of information from French authorities. Till the end of December 2016, out of the 628, 569 were traced by the government. Of the actionable cases, the assessment was completed in 409, as per the submission made by the revenue department. ‘Undisclosed amount of Rs 8437 crore has been brought to tax on account of deposits made in unreported foreign accounts. This includes an amount of Rs 1685 crore assessed on the protective basis,’ the submission said.
Further, a tax demand of Rs 5419 crore has been raised in such cases, including demand in protective assessment, it added. As per the submission, 190 prosecution complaints have been filed in 77 cases related to the HSBC list.
According to the finance ministry, after completion of assessment, about Rs 337 crore has been recovered. This excludes money paid after self-assessment of tax. ‘Out of the 409 cases in which assessments have been completed, concealment penalty of about Rs 1287 crore has been levied in 161 cases. Besides, in 72 cases concealment penalty proceedings initiated are pending,’ said the finance ministry panel.
The Income Tax department has sent over 260 requests overseas seeking information in connection with its tax evasion probe in the Panama papers leak case. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also initiated investigations in 49 cases to probe the alleged contravention of forex laws by the entities named in this list under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), policy making body of the Income Tax department, has provided data on the status of investigations to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
According to CBDT, 424 names are under investigation in the case, with maximum (140) names from Mumbai followed by 105 from Delhi and 39 from Kolkata. Besides, 256 groups are also under the scanner with a maximum of 84 groups from Mumbai followed by 55 from New Delhi.
WHAT IS IT?
The Panama papers refer to 11.5 million leaked documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with details of offshore entities set up by the law firm Mossack Fonseca over 40 years. Some of the entities set up by the law firm were shell corporations used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion and evading international sanctions. The papers also included details of entities set up by over 500 Indian nationals. Meanwhile, the government has raised tax demand of Rs 5,419 crore on individuals who had undisclosed offshore accounts with HSBC of which around Rs 337 crore has been recovered.