Move aimed at unearthing black money stashed in bank accounts abroad. The income-tax department, which is facing a number of cases of denial of secret foreign bank account holdings, has decided to re-open past tax returns of some individuals in Mumbai and Delhi, among others, to unearth black money stashed abroad.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has decided to send the names of those taxpayers to the I-T assessment wing who have refused holding accounts in Swiss or Liechtenstein banks after India recently obtained their names in its attempt to unearth illegal funds hidden in foreign accounts.

“The I-T department in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad issued notices to those people whose names appeared on the classified list obtained from foreign countries. But a number of them denied their liability either by saying the information the department has obtained from foreign shores has no legal sanctity or simply that they are not the one (on the list),” a source said.

These names, about 70, will now be sent to the respective assessment ranges and the assessing officer will re-open the corresponding I-T returns of the year which is reflected on the classified list obtained from various countries.

“The taxpayers’ entire income and transactions in that year will be re-checked electronically and manually to see if the denial is true,” a source said.

According to sources, the list the I-T department has received shows the name of the accountholder, his passport number and the amount held by him or her till recently in the secret bank account.

India has obtained data of over 700 HSBC accounts from the French government. In 80 cases, the department has detected undisclosed income ofRs 438 crore and taxes ofRs 135 crore have been realised so far.

In this context, the government has also imposed a penalty ofRs 24.66 crore on 18 individuals who have bank accounts with LGT Bank of Liechtenstein on the basis of information provided by the German authorities.

Germany had last year provided the names of some Indians having secret accounts in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank. These names were part of about 1,400 stolen bank account details purchased by Germany.

India, according to the Finance Ministry, has so far received over 9,900 pieces of information from several countries regarding suspicious transactions by citizens, and is investigating.

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September 2021