Swiss treaty won't allow India to glean data on older accounts
Although the Swiss Parliament has ratified a treaty allowing Indian authorities to get information on illegal funds stashed in Swiss banks, the government can't glean much data as the pact is applicable with prospective effect, a top tax official said on Tuesday.mumbai Updated: Jun 28, 2011 20:58 IST
Although the Swiss Parliament has ratified a treaty allowing Indian authorities to get information on illegal funds stashed in Swiss banks, the government can't glean much data as the pact is applicable with prospective effect, a top tax official said on Tuesday.
"As far as I can remember, it is prospective...I think it is prospective date, from the date the treaty comes into effect," Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman Prakash Chandra told reporters when asked about the prospects of getting data from the Swiss banks.
This would mean that accounts opened in the secretive Swiss Banks before the ratification of the treaty would not be liable to scrutiny by Indian authorities.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Swiss Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey had in August last year signed a protocol to amend the double taxation agreement (DTA) in the area of taxes, which was ratified by the Swiss Parliament's upper house on June 17.
Chandra said that although the Swiss Parliament has ratified the treaty, under the Swiss law around 90-100 days are required to make the law take effect.
Once the treaty takes effect, "The understanding is that yes, if we ask specific information with regard to a tax payer giving details as asked for, then they are willing to part with that (information) which earlier was not the case," Chandra said.
Meanwhile, Chandra said a government-constituted committee on black money has received more than 2,500 suggestions from across the country in the last 10 days to deal with the issue.
When asked about efforts to re-negotiate DTAA with Mauritius, news on which had led to a sharp fall in equity markets earlier this month, Chandra said both the countries have decided to take the negotiations - stuck since 2008 - forward and will be meeting to discuss the modalities.
He, however, refused to give any timeframe for the same. The BSE Sensex had tanked by 550 points in intra-day trade on June 20 on fears that the Government might impose capital gains tax on investments routed via Mauritius once the DTAA is through.
Chandra said the quarterly tax numbers will have to grow at a "sustained" 20-24 per cent in the coming quarters in order to achieve the tax collection target of Rs 5,32,000 crore announced in the Budget.
In order to check the illegal fund flows, the Government had decided to place Indian tax officers abroad and two such officials have already been posted in Singapore and Mauritius.
Plans are afoot to operationalise similar offices in Japan, UAE, Germany, UK, USA, France and Canada, he said.