By Accommodation Times News Service
The amendment removes conflict between provisions of the IDS that provided immunity from Benami Act condition to transfer of property to actual beneficial owner.
The Union Cabinet yesterday approved the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill 2015 in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. The Bill marks the government’s effort to curb black money but most important provides confiscation of assets held in the name of another person or under a fictitious name to avoid taxation and to conceal illegally obtained wealth. The bill provides for a fine of 25% of the fair value of the asset and imprisonment of 7 years. Under the Benami Transaction Bill “property” will cover movable, immovable, tangible and intangible properties. In case of joint ownership of property the tax payer will have to show financing sources.
The bill was tabled in May last year but was subsequently referred to Parliament’s standing committee on finance. The committee submitted its report in the budget session this year and recommended a host of small changes including providing more time to allow property holders to furnish information, a time-bound process for initiating investigation and for filing appeals.
“The amendments aim to strengthen the bill in terms of legal and administrative procedure so as to overcome the practical difficulties which may arise in the implementation of the provisions of the bill when it becomes an Act. The legislation is also intended to effectively prohibit benami transactions and consequently prevent circumvention of law through unfair practices,” said a government statement after the cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.