Tens of thousands of Indians have come forward to pay $9.5 billion to the government.
Tens of thousands of Indians have come forward to admit to a whopping $9.5 billion in income that was never reported or taxed as part of a government amnesty program that promised a discounted rate in taxes and no criminal prosecution. India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announced Saturday that the number could go up as declarations were still being processed.
Jaitley announced the program earlier this year, which would allow people hiding their income to pay just 45 percent of their taxes and avoid criminal prosecution. A total of 64,275 Indians have come forward to declare their “black money” in the four month period after that.
Tax avoidance has become a big problem in India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pledged to crack down on it. He praised Jaitley, adding in a tweet: “I compliment all those who chose to be tax compliant in IDS-2016. This is a great contribution towards transparency & growth of the economy.”
India has issued a tax amnesty program before. Back in 1997, a similar program brought in $1.5 billion.