Black money: I-T dept taking action against holders of 128 foreign bank accounts

The income tax authorities have initiated penalty proceedings for concealment of income in 128 cases, in which assessments have been completed, while in the remaining 500 cases, assessment proceedings are at an advanced stage, a government release stated on Monday.

The government had received information about 628 persons / entities of Indian origin holding HSBC foreign bank accounts from the French authorities.

The release said necessary investigations will be taken up as per the provisions of law and in all new 1,195 cases of foreign bank accounts held by Indians as reported in the media.

Out of the 628 persons/entities named in the HSBC foreign bank accounts list, received from the French authorities, 200 were either non-residents or non-traceable, leaving 428 cases of residents which were found actionable. For these 428 actionable cases the net amount of peak balance was about Rs4,500 crore, the release said.

The government claims it has taken expeditious action in these cases as per law. Up to 31 December 2014, assessments were completed in 128 cases, involving more than 350 assessments. In the remaining cases, assessment proceedings are at advance stage. Undisclosed income of about Rs3,150 crore was brought to tax on account of deposits made in unreported foreign bank accounts, the release stated.

Out of the 128 cases in which assessments were completed, concealment penalty proceedings under section 271(1)(c) of the Income Tax Act 1961 have been initiated in almost all the cases.

About 60 prosecutions have so far been launched for willful attempt to evade taxes [S/276C(1)] and failure to furnish accounts and documents etc [S/276D]. Show-cause notices before launching prosecutions have been issued in a large number of other cases wherein further action is underway.

The release said some of the 1,195 names published in recent media reports already figure in the earlier list available with the government and that necessary investigation as per the provisions of law will be taken up in all the new cases, expeditiously.

''The income tax department is already in touch with the whistle blower who apparently brought out the names of persons holding undisclosed bank accounts in HSBC, Switzerland.  He has been requested to share information available with him in regard to undisclosed bank accounts of Indians in HSBC, Switzerland and other destinations. His response is awaited,'' it added.