Taxmen have seized black money to the tune of a whopping Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) in the country in the past two years, said the Central Board of Direct Taxes which is set to get investigative powers to boost its drive against wrong-doers.

The CBDT is in the process of creating a Directorate of Criminal Investigation after getting approval from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last week.

CBDT chairman Sudhir Chandra said they have gone after big shots and every search or survey has yielded more than Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) in black money.

Addressing ‘National Seminar on Black Money’, Chandra said, “Through IT searches and surveys, we have realised around Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) of black money” in the past two years.

“In the last two years, through IT searches, we have uncovered Rs 18,500 crore (Rs 185 billion) of black money. That shows we have not gone after small people and we have gone after big people.

“What is the use of mopping the floor if the tap is open. We are trying to close the taps?” he said.

Chandra said his officers did not move out of office unless they got clinching and conclusive information.

Noting that they used to get a lot of complaints, mainly because of personal vendetta, he said the CBDT was profiling high networth individuals.

“Everyone is on our radar,” he said.

Since February, the Income Tax Department has issued 1.15 crore (11.5 million) refunds across the country which runs into Rs 1.04 lakh crore (Rs 1.04 trillion).

“The Income Tax refund is your money. In terms of money, it is Rs 74,000 crore (Rs 740 billion) upto March and another Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) in April and upto May 15,” Chandra said.

He also said the Income Tax collection has gone up by three times in the first 45 days of this fiscal compared to the same period last fiscal.

“Last year till May 15, the gross collection of income tax was Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion), this year it is Rs 28,000 crore (Rs 280 billion).

“In 45 days, it has grown up three times,” he said.

He said Income Tax investigation department is being strengthened.

“We are also setting up a new dedicated and computerised exchange of information cell. Whatever information we want from countries, they can send it our cell, will coordinate with identical cells of foreign countries.

“CBDT is also in the process of creating a Directorate of Criminal Investigation. The Finance Minister has given his approval last week. We need infrastructure to support it,” he said.

On the Liechtenstein accounts, he said the information what India got from them cannot even be shared with the Enforcement Directorate.

“Now we are devising some methods to allow non-tax enforcement agencies to access this. India is also considering signing multilateral convention and mutual assistance in tax matters,” he said.

Noting that India plays a leading role in improving the coordination and exchange of information on black money, Chandra said the situation has changed with regard to sharing information.

“We have identified tax havens. We have negotiated agreements with 14 countries. Three agreements with Bahamas, Nermuda and Isle of Man are already in place and we are getting information from these countries,” he said.

He also said that there was a provision of declaring a country as non-cooperative jurisdiction if it does not share information.

“Once this is done, a company of that country doing business in India or an Indian company doing business with that country, there will be a higher withholding of tax,” he said.

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February 2024