Black Money: Don't want to be big brother watching, says FM

Black Money: Don't want to be big brother watching, says FM

Black Money: Don't want to be big brother watching, says FM
Asking people to come clean on unaccounted wealth and live with "heads held high", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said government is aware of sectors generating black money but it would be unpleasant to start the "big brother watching" process.

Government, he said, has to trust its citizen and hence keeping a watch on their transactions is not a very happy thing for it to do.

Asserting that those who earn must pay taxes, particularly in a country where rates are reasonable, Jaitley said that in future non-payment in all likelihood is going to be detected.

"Everybody, including tax department, is aware of the sectors in which unaccounted money is generated. It would be very unpleasant duty for any state to start the process of big brother watching," he said at an event here.

"I do hope it is an opportunity for tax payer to come out clean, sleep well and live with their heads held high. Those who pay taxes lead a life without fear and I am sure it is an opportunity which is granted," he added.

The idea behind the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) is to nudge India into becoming more and more compliant state, he added.

The ongoing IDS provides for an opportunity to all the persons who have not paid full taxes in the past to come forward and declare the undisclosed income and pay, surcharge and penalty. The scheme is open till September 30.

Those declaring their unaccounted wealth under IDS will have to pay 25 per cent of tax and penalty on income declared by November, another 25 per cent by March 2017, and the remaining by September 2017.

Jaitley also pointed out that tax rates are an important election issue in countries like the US.

Stating that tax base is very narrow and rates are  reasonable in India, Jaitley said it is mandatory, statutory and ethical duty to pay tax, but there has been general tendency to ensure how to avoid it.

He said: "As the world is proceeding on and on, with the advent of technology, more openness and transparency coming into the system it is going to be extremely difficult to conceal evasion or avoidance.

"The world today is moving towards automatic and real  exchange of information. The policy of government is clear and that is to gradually nudge and push the system that India becomes a tax paying society rather than a tax evading society."

Taxation is the only source of revenue for the government and therefore those who earn, it is an inherent principle of governance that they must pay, he said.

"Therefore in order to nudge these people to pay the rates have to be kept reasonable and harassment at the hands  of the tax man must be the least... so it is important for the revenue department that the relationship between it and the assessee is non adversarial, the contact between each other should be least, that is the reason why things have been made online" he added.

Advocating that sources where unassessed income is created are minimised and eliminated, Jaitley said "we already have a large number of sectors of the economy which are slowly moving in that direction."

Jaitley also reiterated that the income declaration is not an amnesty scheme.