Expats under scanner

NEW DELHI: The government’s next target is the expat who earns a huge salary for his work in India but pays no income tax here.

According to the finance ministry, there are over 200 such foreigners, working largely in the finance sector, who have managed to evade paying over Rs 20,000 crore of income tax over the last decade. The ministry has prepared a note, based on inputs received from a right-wing think tank last week, stating that most of these individuals stay in India for a maximum of 150-160 days in a year, to avoid getting resident status, and have their salaries deposited in tax-free jurisdictions abroad.

On the 200 foreigners evading income tax of over Rs 20,000 crore, a Finance ministry note says “Bombay high court has ruled that if any individual receives any income for services rendered in India, then same income is taxable as per Indian laws.”

The majority do not reveal their Indian residential address, show only their weekly travel details and live outside India on weekends. “They stay in five star hotels on monthly or annual packages,” government sources said. Their tax evasion amounts to over Rs 2 lakh crore over the last decade. The official claimed the UPA government was apprised of the issue in 2012, but the input was ignored.

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