As per the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), NRIs are not obliged to provide details in relation to their foreign assets and bank accounts held outside of the country.Nonetheless, also when there arises some discrepancy, the onus lies with the department of tax in India to prove otherwise i.e. whether or not the assessee has held undeclared income due from Indian shore in foreign accounts.
The judgment has been passed in case of a recent case that involved Japan based NRI who maintains an account in Geneva with HSBC Bank. A resident of Japan since the year 1990 received the country’s residency in 2001 and is a non-resident Indian taxpayer from 1995-96.
“The assessing officer erred in making additions towards deposits found in HSBC Bank account, Geneva under Section 69 of the Income Tax Act,” said the Mumbai Bench of the ITAT.
Also, it was approved that the foreign bank account is not illegal and the provision of Black Money (undisclosed foreign income and assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, apply only to Indian residents.
It was also conferred that it does not necessarily imply that Indians who maintain bank account outside of their native country do it only to stash black money and evade tax.
The case came into light after the French government as part of the DTAA (double taxation avoidance agreement) revealed his name in the list of account holders of India with HSBC Bank, Geneva. And based on the details, his assessment was reopened in the year 2014. Japan based Pandya filed ITR for the assessment year 2006-07 with a declared income of Rs. 5.51 lakh.
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