The scheme requires declaration of undisclosed assets at their fair market value
In what could deter people from declaring black money during the four-month window beginning next month, the tax liability on the declared asset will be on the appreciated value.
Although the government has tried to balance it by extending the capital gains tax benefit when the asset is sold later, it may still create cash flow problems in paying the tax on the appreciated asset within two months of the scheme closing on September 30.
The scheme requires declaration of undisclosed assets at their fair market value on the date of commencement of the scheme, which is June 1, and will be regarded as cost of acquisition of the asset for any subsequent transfer.
For instance, if an asset was bought for Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) a decade ago is valued at Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) on June 1, the declarant will have to pay Rs 45 lakh or Rs 4.5 million as tax (Rs 30 lakh or Rs 3 million), penalty (Rs 750,000) and a cess (Rs 750,000).
The person disclosing the asset may not have Rs 45 lakh (Rs 4.5 million) to pay.
“The issue is when a person makes a declaration, he may not have cash to pay taxes on the appreciated value because he has not disposed of the asset.
"Besides, there may not be a ready market for an asset to meet the cash outflow requirement.
"This may keep people away from the scheme,” said Rahul Garg, partner, PwC.
Amarpal Chadha, partner, EY, said, “Most likely, the fair market value of the property on June 1, 2016, will be higher than the cost of acquisition of the property.
"This may have an impact on the number of the people making declarations under the scheme.”
“However, given the focus of the revenue authorities on undisclosed income, this is a good opportunity for people to come clean,” added Chadha.
Experts also pointed out the government should allow for deferment of tax payment till the time the asset was sold.
“The income tax law has a provision that provides for postponement of payment of tax when capital assets are converted into stock in trade, said another expert.
Officials in the finance ministry told Business Standard that if a declarant did not have money, he should sell the asset and pay the tax.
“It is a harsh Act.
"It is an opportunity for a person who has undeclared assets to come clean.
"If you do not have cash to pay tax, then liquidate and generate cash flow,” he said.
He added the government had provided a capital gains benefit, where today’s value of an asset on which tax was paid would be offset against capital gains tax on future sale.
On the ambiguity regarding reporting of fair market value of an asset, the official said if a declarant under-reported asset value, he would receive immunity only up to the amount he had paid tax on.
Rakesh Nangia, managing partner, Nangia and Co pointed out the response to the scheme could be lukewarm because the declarant would not gain immunity from indirect taxes.
In the previous Budget, the government had come out with a similar scheme for people with undisclosed assets abroad.
Disclosures were charged with a total tax and penalty of 60 per cent. The exchequer received just Rs 2,428.4 crore (Rs 24.28 billion) in payment from disclosures worth Rs 4,147 crore (Rs 41.47 billion) during a three-month long window that ended September 30, 2015.
FAIR VALUE DEPENDS ON. . .
- Price such jewellery would fetch if sold in the open market on the valuation date
- If value exceeds Rs 50,000, the declarant should get the report of registered valuer in respect of the price it would fetch if sold in the open market on the valuation date
- On the prevailing circle rate on the valuation date
- On price prevailing in the stock market on the valuation date
UNLISTED EQUITY SHARES
- Determined by a merchant banker or an accountant according to the Discounted Free Cash Flow method
Image: A customer counts his cash at the checkout lane of a Walmart store in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters. The image is used for representational purpose only.