Expressing opposition to the idea of an amnesty scheme to unearth black money, senior BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has said they do not serve any purpose but act as a disincentive to honest taxpayers.
“I am against all amnesty schemes. If you look at the history of amnesty schemes, ultimately they have failed, including the last VDIS by (former Finance Minister) Chidambaram...Only a handful of people take advantage of this and it is a great disincentive for the honest taxpayers, for the law abiding citizens,” he told PTI.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is understood to be “seriously considering” recommending to the government a scheme on the lines of the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) announced in 1996 to tap funds lying abroad for productive use in India.
A similar scheme was also proposed earlier by an expert group on black money to the government.
Mr. Sinha further said that the Congress-led UPA government is not serious about dealing with the menace of black money.
“It appears they (UPA Government) are not very serious as far as black money is concerned.
“Staring from 2001, after the terrorist attack on U.S., there is little tolerance for tax havens and Swiss bank’s secrecy laws. We should take full advantage of this and insist that if national laws have been violated then the host government of that country should share the details,” he said.
Under attack from various quarters, the government signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with several countries, especially tax havens, and is in the process of revising the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with nations, including Switzerland and Mauritius.
Besides, the government has set up several committees to estimate the quantum of black money and suggest administrative and legislative measures to deal with the menace and bring back illegal funds stashed abroad.