In a bid to get back ill-gotten money stashed by Indians abroad, curb the menace and deter future such practices, the proposed new law not only seeks stringent action against perpetrators but also abetors like banks, chartered accountants, directors and employees.
"In keeping with the commitment of the government for focussed action on the black money front, an unprecedented, multi-pronged attack has been launched to root out the menace of black money," the finance ministry said, seeking to explain the nuances of the proposed new legislation.
"The government is confident that this new law will act as a strong deterrent and curb the menace of black money stashed abroad by Indians," it said about the bill, the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, tabled in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"Abetment or inducement of another person to make a false return or a false account or statement or declaration under the act will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from six months up to seven years," it said.
"This provision will also apply to banks and financial institutions aiding in the concealment of foreign income or assets of resident Indians or falsification of documents," it said as the bill makes it clear that proceedings can be initiated both against individuals and against enitities.
The bill says when an offence is by a company, every individual in charge of its business at that time will be held guilty. The deemed deafaulters can also include a managing director, director, manager, secretary or official if they have shown consent, connivance or neglect.
"Wilful attempt to evade tax in relation to a foreign income will be punished with rigorous imprisonment from 3-10 years and with fine," Jaitley noted the statement of objectives and reasons, speaking about the liability in such cases.
"Failure to furnish a return of income though holding a foreign asset, failure to disclose the foreign asset or furnishing of inaccurate particulars of the foreign asset will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of six months to seven years."
The bill also lists how the monies payable under the act should be recovered.
"Every person being a manager at any time during the financial year will be jointly and severally liable for payment of any amount due under in respect of the company for the financial year, if the amount cannot be recovered from the company," says a note on clauses attached to the bill.
"The amount so intimated shall be the first charge on the assets of the company remaining after payment of the workmen’s dues and debts due to secured creditors to the extent specified," it says, speaking about the hierarchy of the lien.
Likewise, a debtor of the perpetrator can be asked to pay an amount not exceeding the amount of debt to meet the tax liability. Failure will make the debtor a defaulter. For this, A debtor is not a person who owes the perpetrator but also if money is held on account of the perpetrator.