I-T units to come up abroad to tackle black money

New Delhi: To deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad by Indians, the government today said it is expanding the network of Income Tax Overseas Units (ITOUs) to collect information on such wealth on real time basis. "After a comprehensive review of the existing network, steps are being taken to further augment the reach of the ITOUs in some more jurisdictions," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the annual conference of senior officers of the Income Tax Department here.

To facilitate real time exchange of information on cross-border transactions, India had set up eight more ITOUs at its missions at Cyprus, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UAE, UK, the USA and Japan. The enlarged network of ITOUs along with Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) will help India in receiving valueable information in future, Mukherjee said. The ITOUs would obtain information on tax and financial data of investments made by individuals and institutions in these countries and facilitate any data on investment or routing of money in the country and vice-versa.

Undeclared assets held by Indians abroad has been a matter of intense debate recently. "We have come out with a white paper on black money to inform this debate and help create a more effective policy response to address the issue, as we move forward," he said. He said the I-T Department has been "striving" to check the menace of black money and tax evasion, which eats into vitals of the national economy and also poses threats to national security through linkages to money-laundering and terrorism.