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After Switzerland, government talking to other havens

business Updated: May 28, 2015 14:52 IST

After securing Switzerland's cooperation in getting information about people with undisclosed income in bank accounts, the tax department is now focusing on other such destinations.

According to sources, other countries have also begun sharing information on assets held there by Indians, and the I-T department will investigate this and issue show-cause notices to those deemed to be evading tax.

“Apart from Switzerland, there are other tax havens with whom India is in active dialogue to gain access to information. The tax authorities will investigate this and factor it in with their (those who have stashed away money) tax returns,” a source told HT.

This information is expected to help the tax department ramp up its database and get kicking once the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015, comes into effect.

Jagvinder Brar, partner, Forensic Services, KPMG in India, said there are as many as 50 such havens apart from the traditional destinations of Switzerland and Luxembourg.

“There are many popular tax havens whose legal frameworks shield banking and corporate information from Indian tax and law enforcement agencies. Tunisia, Cyprus, Cook Islands, the Bahamas, Bermuda and Vanuatu Islands are some places that are becoming new favorites for Indians,” he said.

As part of the ongoing information exchange, the tax department is getting names of individuals and entities who have undisclosed assets or money or both. Tax officials have started collating this information and matching it with their internal data as part of primary investigation, the source said.

Meanwhile, to make this sort of information exchange legal and regular, India would soon introduce a chapter on automatic exchange of information in all its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and other bilateral tax treaties.