Adopting an aggressive approach against cases of tax evasion the Income Tax today stated that it would be launching criminal proceedings against groups and individuals that have been found to evade taxes. A press release by the central board of direct taxes under the Finance Ministry stated that they do not want to treat cases of serious tax evasion with civil consequences where the motive was just to extract revenue. "In its crusade against black money and with a view to have credible deterrence against generation of black money, the Government has shifted the focus to successfully prosecute the offenders in shortest possible time," stated the release. During the current year 628 prosecution complaints have been filed and 56 of such prosecution complaints relate to offences concerning undisclosed foreign income. As per legal provisions wilful attempt to evade tax is a serious offence punishable with imprisonment of upto 7 years and fine. During the first three quarters of financial year 2014-15; the IT department has conducted searches in 414 groups and seized undisclosed assets to the tune of Rs. 582 crore.
"Undisclosed income of Rs. 6769 crore has been admitted by the tax payers during such searches," the release stated. In the connection of tracing unaccounted income, India has strongly advocated the fast implementation of the automatic exchange of tax information globally, within the time-frame agreed by the G20 countries. "This would help India trace transactions of money illegally earned or stashed in foreign banks without paying appropriate taxes in the countries where those transactions took place," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha told a meeting of the G20 nations' finance ministers and central bank governors in Istanbul held Feb 9-10, an official release said here Wednesday.