India to get Swiss bank info for cases dating from Jan 2011

NEW Delhi, April 8 (PTI): India can get information on secret bank accounts from Swiss authorities for cases dating from January 2011, once the revised taxation treaty between the two countries is ratified by the Switzerland Parliament. “In this case, because you (India) wants to find all the tax evaders... I think we have conceded in the negotiation of DTAA, that India will get information effective from January 1, 2011,” Swiss Ambassador to India Philippe Welti told PTI.
“It was negotiated and approved by both Indian and Swiss governments,” he said. The revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Switzerland is awaiting ratification from the Swiss Parliament, which is expected to happen by end of this year. Generally, bilateral taxation agreements do not have provisions for getting information on a retrospective basis, but in this case, both governments finalised the same after negotiations. “It (provision to give details for cases starting from January 1, 2011), is part of revision of the treaty... retroactivity we call it,” Welti said.
India inked an agreement with Switzerland to revise the DTAA in August last year and once the amended treaty is in force, Indian authorities can seek information for cases of tax fraud as well as tax evasion. The issue of black money has become a political hot potato and the Indian government is facing intense pressure from the Opposition as well as courts to crack down on those who have allegedly stashed illicit wealth in secret Swiss banks. “Under the revised treaty, the Indian government and the Swiss government are entitled to file for request for release of data in cases also of tax evasion,” Welti noted.
On Thursday, Switzerland’s Head of Federal Department of Economic Affairs Johann N Schneider-Ammann said the DTAA is expected to be concluded before the end of this year. “We do want to solve issues around the black money. I can tell you Switzerland is very much interested... We respect all the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) prime conditions,” Schneider-Ammann had said after his meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.