Govt fast tracks new Benami law…

NEW DELHI: The government has fast tracked the operationalisation of the new Benami law, which will complete its framework for tackling black money generation. The Benami law complements a law passed earlier to discourage parking of illicit funds overseas.

The Act cannot be notified till rules are in place so the process has been put on fast track. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson Rani Singh Nair said, “We are already working on it….We have to operationalize…Both adjudicating authorities and rules would soon be in place.”

The legislation provides for setting up of an authority as “administrator”, which shall have the power to manage the benami property confiscated under the Act. The new law mandates the Centre to designate one or more courts of session as special court for trial of offence punishable under it. The Benami law provides for rigorous imprisonment of one to seven years for anyone found guilty under it.

The offender will also be liable to fine, which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the property. Any person furnishing false information or document will also be liable for rigorous imprisonment of six months to five years and a fine of up to 10 % of the fair market value of the property.

However, no prosecution shall be instituted against any person under this law without the prior sanction of CBDT. The income declaration scheme, which is currently open, gives benami property holders time until September 30 to come clean after paying 45% tax. The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by Lok Sabha on July 27 and Rajya Sabha on August 2.

Credits ET Realty

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