India Taxman Lines-Up Crypto Tax Dodgers in His Sights

The taxman in India is on the hunt for around 700 high-net-worth individuals who have appeared on his radar. If caught, they face being slapped with 30% tax, a penalty, and interest charges.

“We have a long list of people who were transacting in crypto assets but were not paying tax. Initially, we have shortlisted about 700 transactions where tax liability is very high,” said a spokesman for the Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT).

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According to the report, the crypto investors have either failed to file their income tax returns or did not mention their cryptocurrency gains when submitting them.

The CBDT official said the investors comprised non-resident Indians (NRIs), students, startups, high net-worth individuals, and homemakers who have never filed an income tax return. The department is also investigating whether those on the list intended to evade tax altogether.

CBDT chairman JB Mohapatra said authorities had sufficient evidence to start pursuing individuals after March 1.

India proposes 30% crypto tax

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed a crypto tax of 30% for the next fiscal year. Under the proposal, the fixed tax rate would apply regardless of the length of time the taxpayer holds the digital asset.

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Last week, industry players warned the government it would lose out if it pushed ahead with its planned 1% tax deducted at source (TDS). 

Nischal Shetty, of India-based exchange WazirX, explained that Indians currently hold nearly $3bn in crypto assets. Assuming a net profit of 10% on the total crypto value, tax revenues will total $300m.

The government stands to generate around $100m from the 30% tax on crypto income. However, it would need to refund $900m in TDS each year, according to Shetty’s figures.

Pankaj Chaudhary, India’s Minister of State for Finance, told legislators that investigations are being made into seven cases of alleged illegal activities involving nearly $18m.


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