India-Switzerland Agree to Exchange Data to Fight Black Money
The agreement will enable easier monitoring of money stashed in Swiss accounts by Indians.
In a move aimed at combating black money stashed abroad, India signed an agreement with Switzerland on Thursday, 21 December, that would allow the automatic sharing of tax-related information from 1 January 2018, the CBDT said.
The policy-making body for the Income Tax Department said the agreement was signed by CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra, and Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum at New Delhi.
With the completion of the parliamentary procedure in Switzerland and the signing of a mutual agreement, India and Switzerland are set for automatic exchange of information for the period starting 1 January 2018.
Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) Statement
A joint declaration for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) was signed in November between the two sides and it provided that both countries would start collecting data in accordance with global standards in 2018, and exchange it from 2019 onwards.
While Switzerland has conformed to the global standards on automatic exchange of information with the signing of the declaration, India, on its part, has promised to safeguard the confidentiality of the data.
It will now be possible for India to receive, from September 2019 onwards, the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis.
Switzerland, which has always been at the centre of the debate on black money allegedly stashed by Indians abroad, used to be known for very strong secrecy walls around its banking practices, till a few years ago.
Immense global pressure has resulted in Switzerland relenting on the tough secrecy clauses its local laws gave to the banks.
Official sources said that several information requests on details about Indians who had accounts in Swiss banks were still pending.
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