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Says Parizad Sirwalla at KPMG India: “The super-rich will cough up more taxes as the enhanced surcharge of two per cent as income more than approximately Rs 1.05 crore is to be impacted by around 1.8 per cent extra tax liability. This more than compensates the loss of revenue to the exchequer by abolishment of wealth tax. The peak tax rate for the super-rich is increased from 33.99 per cent to 34.61 per cent.”
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Importantly, the focus is now on compliance. “The substantial focus on compliance, with introduction of a new law for penalising concealment or furnishing inaccurate particulars of foreign income/assets. These are now non-compoundable and prosecutable, with a much higher penalty,” adds Sirwalla.
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Even non-filing of returns or filing with inadequate disclosures in this regard will attract a punishment of up to seven years. Similarly, undisclosed income from any foreign asset will be taxed at the maximum marginal rate. Also made more stringent is unaccounted (‘black’) money in real estate. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed to introduce a Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill. There are also substantial moves like prohibition from acceptance or repayment of an advance of Rs 20,000 or more in cash for purchase of immovable property. Also, all sales of over Rs 1 lakh will have to mandatorily have a PAN number.
“The introduction of the new rules will increase hassles for the wealthy. Dealing with the income tax department is a nightmare. The extra disclosure means answering of numerous queries raised by the sleuths and there will be a lot of back and forth,” said a tax consultant.