Recognising various limitations under the existing legislation [Income-tax Act, 1961, etc.], the Government enacted a new law – ‘The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015’ – to specifically and effectively tackle the issue of black money stashed away abroad. This has, inter alia, provided for more stringent provisions of penalties and prosecutions in respect of black money stashed away abroad. Further, under this law, for the first time the offence of wilful attempt to evade tax, etc. in relation to undisclosed foreign income/assets has been made a Scheduled Offence for the purposes of the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). This enables attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime of wilful attempt to evade such tax, etc., eventually leading to recovery of such undisclosed foreign income and assets/black money stashed away abroad. The new law came into force w.e.f. 01.07.2015. Thus, the first assessment year (A.Y.) in respect of the new law is A.Y. 2016-17 which began only on 01.04.2016.
However, before the cases involving black money stashed away abroad were subjected to more stringent provisions of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, a one-time three months’ compliance window closing on 30th September 2015 was provided under the new law wherein 648 declarations involving undisclosed foreign assets worth Rs.4164 crore were made. The amount collected by way of tax and penalty in such cases is about Rs.2476 crore.