Budget: Govt sanctions Rs 13.11 cr for overseas tax offices

Government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 13.11 crore for the expenditure of ten Income Tax Overseas Units (ITOUs), created to curb offshore tax evasion and promote foreign investment, in countries like Germany, USA and France.

The allocation was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech yesterday.

The Finance Ministry had operationalised seven such offices early this year while one ITOU is yet to be fully activated and two other such foreign offices are already working in Singapore and Mauritius for few years now.

I-T officers of the Indian Revenue Service have been posted as First Secretaries in Indian Embassies in France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, UAE, UK and USA while a similar office in Cyprus is expected to be operational soon.

During the last fiscal in 2013-14, the government had allocated Rs 20.24 crore for the same job but the budget was revised to Rs 3.96 crore by the Finance Ministry owing to some pending sanctions.

The government had decided to set up ITOUs in these eight countries few years back as part of its multi-pronged strategy to combat black money and streamline the flow of investments from these nations into India.

Two such ITOUs have been operational in Mauritius and Singapore for some years now and the positive results from these offices had prompted the Finance Ministry and the Central Board of Direct Taxes to increase the number of such overseas I-T offices.

The government's intention to increase the numbers of ITOUs is also drawn from the idea that these units could obtain hassle-free information on tax and financial data of investments made by individuals and institutions in these countries and facilitate exchange of data on legal investment or routing of money in India and vice-versa.

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