Black money: I-T may get to re-open returns beyond 6 years

The I-T department needs these powers to pursue the ongoing cases where funds were found to be stashed abroad and these came to light after India received a classified list of bank account holders which include those in HSBC Bank Geneva and LGT Bank of Liechtenstein

New Delhi: The government may grant the Income Tax (I-T) department powers to re-open tax returns of beyond six years in specific cases of black money where “foreign assets” are involved, reports PTI.

The I-T department needs these powers to pursue the ongoing cases where funds were found to be stashed abroad and these came to light after India received a classified list of bank account holders which include those in HSBC bank Geneva and LGT Bank of Liechtenstein.

The department, according to current rules, can only open I-T returns for the past six years if they need to probe hidden income and assets.

The recommendation on extending the period was also made by the committee on black money headed by the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to take into account this issue before he presents his Budget next month.

“This specific clause is being seriously thought.

Numerous instances in the department's on-going probe in black money cases warrant such a clause as unreported investments date back to many years. The I-T investigations have also asked for such a clause in the I-T Act,” a senior finance ministry official said.

The clause, however, is needed in cases where foreign assets are traced as in these cases we need to prepare a tight case before we approach a foreign country for help under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) or other relevant treaty, the official said.

The official said the time frame that I-T authorities want to go back is about 12 years but the limit can only be decided by the finance ministry and Mr Mukherjee’s office after consulting all stakeholders.

While Germany had last year provided the names of some Indians having secret accounts in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank, many other such classified data is now with India.

Officials of the probe wings of the I-T department have carried out a number of searches and visits in the last four months on various entities based in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and few other cities of people who have admitted to holding accounts and stashing funds in the foreign bank after their names figured in the classified lists.

In cases where the individuals have denied holding secret foreign bank accounts, the department has already decided to re-open their past tax returns.

 

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Global steel demand to go up by 5.4% in 2012, says WSA

Global steel demand is expected to register a 5.4% growth in the current year to around 1,500 million tonnes on higher consumption from developing nations, according to the World Steel Association

New Delhi: The global steel demand is expected to register a 5.4% growth in the current year to around 1,500 million tonnes (MT) on higher consumption from developing nations, reports PTI quoting the World Steel Association (WSA).

WSA’s director general Edwin Basson in a presentation said the steel consumption will grow from 1,397 MT last year as consumption in developing regions is higher. WSA members represent around 85% of the world steel production.

Mr Basson said the demand for steel is expected to grow by 2.5% in the European Union to 159 MT over the last year.

The demand of steel may grow by 5.7% and 4.9% in the Commonwealth of Independent States and countries signatory to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to 60 MT and 121 MT, respectively, he said.

Countries in Central & North America and Africa are expected to register 9.8% and 11% growth in steel demand in the current year to 52.4 MT and 23.8 MT, respectively, over the last year.

“The exceptionally high growth rate for Africa is partly the result of weak steel consumption at the start of 2011 owing to the political uncertainty in the region for a large part of 2011,” Mr Basson said.

The growth in steel demand would be 7.9% and 5.4% in the Middle East and Asia & Oceania in 2012 to 15 MT and 963.1 MT, respectively.

India’s steel consumption was around 68 MT in 2011, the third-highest steel consuming country in the world after China and the US.

Mr Basson said the demand for steel in China is likely to be its lowest level over the last three years to 6% in the current year to 682 MT.

However, he added: “This does not mean that China is becoming less important as a steel consumer. It only means that China is growing larger at a slower pace”.

 

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Companies raised Rs5,600 crore in December via public issues

“During December 2011, an aggregate amount of Rs5,600 crore was mobilised through three public debt issues compared to two issues worth Rs1,061 crore in November 2011,” SEBI said in its ‘Capital Market Review’

Mumbai: The quantum of funds raised by India Inc through initial public offers and rights issues went up by over five-fold to Rs5,600 crore in December over the previous month, reports PTI.

Companies had raised Rs1,601 crore in November with two issues, according to the ‘Capital Market Review’ by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

“During December 2011, an aggregate amount of Rs5,600 crore was mobilised through three public debt issues compared to two issues worth Rs1,061 crore in November, 2011,” SEBI said.

The regulator said that the amount mobilised during the April-December period stood at Rs23,003 crore through 51 issues as against Rs50,480 crore raised through 66 issues during the corresponding period in 2010-11.

Experts said that the volatile nature of the market and the global economic slowdown have prompted companies to stay away from coming out with new issues.

SEBI also said that there was only a single Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) in December which raised Rs68 crore. In the previous month, there were no QIPs.

Preferential allotments, however, witnessed a decline in December 2011 with 19 such allotments raising a total of Rs517 crore. In comparison, there were 21 preferential allotments executed in the primary market in November but they had raised only a total of Rs169 crore.

The stock market witnessed a downward swing in December, with the benchmark Sensex losing over 6.6% per cent during the month.

 

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