India asks tax dodgers to come clean by March 2017

Passengers wait in front of an income tax billboard at a bus stop in New Delhi, India, September 26, 2016. Picture taken September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

The government said on Friday that tax-dodgers have until the end of March 2017 to come clean under a scheme announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters that those who fail to declare their untaxed income under the scheme will have to pay a minimum 77 percent and up to 100 percent in tax and fines.

Another senior income tax department official later said the income of the political parties was exempted under the Income Tax Act, and they could deposit old currency notes in their bank accounts only if they had taken donations in cash up to 20,000 rupees from individuals with all details.

All political parties would have to maintain records properly about their income and voluntary donations, he said adding they would have to submit their audited accounts.

“They can’t take any more old currency notes,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes on November 8 in a bid to flush out cash earned through illegal activities, or earned legally but never disclosed to the taxman.

People can deposit old currency notes in banks until the end of December.