Millennium Post

India sends 200 secret tax info requests to Switzerland in FY13

Investigators' efforts to unlock the Swiss banking secrecy code in money laundering and tax evasion probes have gained momentum with India making maximum number of requests for classified tax data exchange last fiscal to the authorities of the alpine country.

India's global requests for obtaining classified tax information, in the face of a number of high-profile tax evasion and scam cases, has also seen a 59 per cent jump -- with a total of 646 requests -- as compared to a total of 386 similar letters during the 2011-12 fiscal.
While India dispatched the most number of 232 requests for obtaining secret financial information under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) to Switzerland, it sent 145 similar legal letters to Mauritius during the 2012-13 financial year.

While a huge investment into the country is routed from Mauritius, a number of high-value and criminal probes against a certain number of individuals in the country are connected to blackmoney stashed in Swiss banks.It is important to note that Switzerland started allowing access to depositors' personal banking and other financial information to Indian tax sleuths only since April 2010 when the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement  between the two nations was revised after diligent efforts by the Union Finance Ministry in this regard.Among the major countries to which India dispatched its secret tax and finance related queries during 2012-13 fiscal were United Arab Emirates (38), United Kingdom (26), United States of America (61), British Virgin Island (22), Cyprus (16), Denmark (11) and Singapore (19) while a number of other nations too figured on the same list.

'This is the maximum number of legal requests that India has sent to Swiss authorities since the revision of the DTAA in 2010. The subject matter of these DTAAs and TIEAs (Tax Information Exchange Agreements) pertain to many high-profile cases which the financial enforcement agencies are probing at present,' a senior official privy to the development said.
The sources, however, refused to divulge the identities of these cases citing strict confidentiality clauses riding these tax information exchange treaties.
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