Tax evasion to be made a serious crime: SIT Chief

Tax evasion

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money has said to made Tax evasion a serious “criminal offence” to force foreign countries to reveal names and account details of Indians stashing illicit wealth abroad.

Same would check generation of unaccounted wealth within the country, SIT chairman MB Shah said.

At present, tax evasion is a civil offence in India and it is dealt under the Income Tax Act, 1961 while forex violations are dealt under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).


Both laws are civil in nature and do not have criminal proceedings attached as such.

“We have made a serious pitch for this (making tax evasion a serious criminal offence in India). One reason is that if tax crimes remain civil in nature, the foreign governments will not cooperate,” Shah said, adding: “If this is made a crime, then there is no difficulty and then they (foreign countries) are bound to reveal the names. That is the main purpose.”

The SC-constituted SIT, which has former SC judges MB Shah and Arijit Pasayat as chairman and vice-chairman, recently submitted its latest report on black money, wherein it has disclosed tracing of Rs4,479 crore held by Indians in a Swiss bank and unaccounted wealth worth Rs14,958 crore within India.