Pressed hard for giving access to details of money stashed away by Indians and other overseas clients with them, Swiss banks have offered to tax this wealth on behalf of the respective foreign governments.
India, where there have been long-running demand for concrete actions to bring back the black money lying in highly secretive Swiss banks, will begin talks in December for a new tax treaty with Switzerland so that it could get details about the defaulters.
Besides India, a number of other countries are also said to be looking at similar treaties, while the US recently reached an agreement for giving access to close to 4,450 bank accounts of Americans with Swiss banking major UBS.
As an alternative to the information exchange, Swiss banks have mooted the idea of a 'universal withholding tax' --wherein they would tax the earnings generated from the wealth of foreigners deposited with them and transfer the proceeds to the government of the concerned country -- and is currently discussing the same with the relevant authorities.
When asked about the proposal and its applicability to the wealth deposited by Indians in Switzerland, Swiss Bankers Association's Head of International Communications James Nason told PTI from Basel: "We are in contact with the Swiss authorities about the proposal so it would be premature to publicise more details for the moment."