India to seek info about Swiss bank accounts
New Delhi: Stepping up efforts to bring
back black money stashed in Swiss banks, India is set to seek
information on specific accounts there through the Federal
Court of that country.
The Finance Ministry has initiated steps under which the
Swiss Federal Court of Justice would be requested to ensure
that information on specific accounts is provided by April 1,
2011 under the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement, sources said on Wednesday.
Attorney General GE Vahanvati would be writing to the
Swiss authorities to obtain information for the Foreign Tax
(FT) and Tax Research (TR) Divisions of the Finance Ministry,
which are investigating aspects related to Indian black money
stashed in bank accounts abroad.
The sources, however, did not specify the accounts about
which the details would be sought.
Sources said several individuals have made investments
to the tune of crores of rupees, taking advantage of the
Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in various
countries and the details sought from Switzerland would help
agencies investigate tax evasions.
In August this year, India and Switzerland had signed a
protocol to amend the existing DTAA between the two countries
so as to bring under its ambit information regarding the money
stashed away in banks in that country.
"Under the current DTAA between India and Switzerland,
India has not been able to obtain banking information from
Switzerland. The protocol now seeks to amend the Article
concerning Exchange of Information to enable exchange of such
information," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had informed
the Lok Sabha in a statement made in August.
Under the revised DTAA, information, which is foreseen
as relevant for carrying out the provisions of the agreement
or to the administration or enforcement of the domestic laws
concerning taxes, can be exchanged under the pact.
Earlier, information which was relevant only for
carrying out the provisions of DTAA could be exchanged.
The objective of the DTAAs is to evolve an equitable
basis for the allocation of the right to tax different types
of incomes between the `source` and `residence` States,
ensuring in that process tax neutrality in transactions
between residents and non-residents.
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