Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Monday said Indian nationals who overlooked the country's compliance window offer announced last year to declare unaccounted wealth overseas will find "such adventurism extremely costly," reported the Indian Express. He was reacting to a story by the daily that identified 500 Indians having illegal assets in some offshore tax havens.
"The compliance window operated (and), many availed but probably some didn't. Today when I see contrarian reports appearing (in media), which are not only impacting India... which are impacting the rest of the world. I think it is a stern reminder to all of us," he said.
In 2015, the minister said the compliance window offer was the "last opportunity to those who committed mistakes."
Jaitley cautioned that a parallel global initiative to deal with this spreading menace will be in place by 2017. Together with India's coming tough on tax offenders, hiding assets would be extremely difficult, he added.
"With G20 initiatives, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore, this kind of an adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it," Jaitley said at an annual gathering of industry body CII.
The Panama Papers investigative story is now a world sensation since a host of names of world leaders and celebrities have been called as tax evaders of their respective countries. They are accused of hoarding unaccounted wealth outside their economies using tax haven countries such as Panama.
A massive leak of data from law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in tax haven Panama, revealed Indian personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DLF CEO KP Singh and 497 others owned properties and off-shore businesses to evade taxes.