Chidambaram warns tax dodgers, rules out amnesty

In warning to tax dodgers, finance minister P. Chidambaram today said that a huge amount of data is being mined to go after them and ruled out any amnesty scheme for defaulters.

“No. In income tax there is no case for amnesty. Because now almost all returns are online except a small category which was exempt. We have a huge amount of data which is being mined. Therefore, there is no case for amnesty today. “Best case I can make out is tell people ‘please don’t hide your income’. Just admit your income and pay tax and be a proud citizen,” he told PTI in an interview.

He was asked whether government would consider giving an amnesty to tax defaulters to unearth an estimated huge amount of black money on the lines of amnesty given to service tax defaulters announced in the budget.

Chidambaram pointed out that no tax burden had been imposed in the budget on any category of people other than a “small burden” of 10 per cent surcharge on relatively affluent 42,800 people with incomes of over Rs one crore a year, he pointed out today.

That number was deliberately used to “shock” the nation that in this country “which swears by truth and virtue” there are only 42,800 people who admit an income of over Rs one crore, he said. Dispelling apprehensions that the tax could continue beyond one year, the minister said, “surcharges have been imposed in the past and they have been removed”.

He gave the instances of removal of banking cash transaction tax and fringe benefit tax which were removed in subsequently budgets few years ago. The minister also allayed fears that tax on super rich would drive away people saying “... Nobody will move anywhere, I assure you. Nowhere in the world you can afford to employ so many domestic helps. Wellness does not only come from wealth. It comes from host of other services that we have in place.”

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