India gets first tranche of data on Swiss Bank account holders

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NEW DELHI: In a significant milestone in the fight against black money, India has received the first batch of details about financial accounts of its residents in Swiss banks.

The details were provided under a new automatic information exchange pact, an NDTV report said.

The exchanged details include identification, account and financial information. These include name, address, state of residence and tax identification number, as well information concerning the financial institution, account balance and capital income.

India is among 75 countries with which Switzerland's Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI), an FTA spokesperson told PTI.

The next exchange would take place in September 2020, the spokesperson added.

This is the first time that India has received details from Swiss authorities under the AEOI framework, which provides for exchange of information on financial accounts, currently active as well as those accounts that were closed during 2018, the year in which the framework agreement became effective.

The exchange is governed by strict confidentiality clauses and the FTA officials refused to disclose specific details on the number of accounts or about the quantum of financial assets associated with the accounts of Indian clients of Swiss banks, the NDTV report said.

Overall, the FTA has sent information on around 3.1 million financial accounts to the partner states and received information on around 2.4 million from them.

According to experts, the data received by India can be quite useful for establishing a strong prosecution case against those who have any unaccounted wealth, as it provides entire details of deposits and transfers as well as of all earnings, including through investments in securities and other assets.

On condition of anonymity, several officials said the details relate mostly to businessmen, including non-resident Indians now settled in several South-East Asian countries as well as in the US, the UK and even some African and South American countries.

Besides, there are at least 100 cases of older accounts held by Indians that might have been closed before 2018, for which Switzerland is in the process of sharing details with India under an earlier framework of mutual administrative assistance as Indian authorities had provided prima facie evidence of tax-related wrongdoing by those account holders.

These relate to people engaged in businesses like auto components, chemicals, textiles, real estate, diamond and jewellery and steel products.

With inputs from PTIĀ 

Image Credit: Asian Age

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