Swiss may soon share bank account names with India

Jun 24 2014, 03:01 IST
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The Act will allow Swiss govt to override several provisions of banking secrecy laws and share data on account holders The Act will allow Swiss govt to override several provisions of banking secrecy laws and share data on account holders
SummaryThe Act will allow Swiss govt to override several provisions of banking secrecy...

(comply with) additional recommendation of the Global Forum on Tax Transparency”, the website notes.

Under Swiss law, any change in a statute has to be cleared by the process of referendum. The last time its federal government had passed a similar law it was struck down in October 2013 as it “met with strong opposition during the consultation”, a Swiss finance ministry web post notes.

The development comes on the same day when Jaitley told the media he would write to the Swiss finance minister for information on tax evaders. “We are today writing ourselves to the Swiss authorities with whom the ministry has been in touch so that details with regard to whatever information the authorities have can be expedited and the cooperation between the Swiss authorities and the government of India can bring fruitful results,” Jaitley said. He made the comments after agency reports from the European country claimed that it had recently shared new information with the tax department in India.

But the Swiss finance ministry, despite promising help in India’s fight against tax evasion, made it clear it has not shared any fresh information with New Delhi “since a high-level Swiss delegation met with its India counterparts in..February 2014”.

The response adds that “no further official meeting has taken place. There is no new development to be reported.”

In its first cabinet decision, the Narendra Modi government has set up a special investigation team (SIT) to track black money abroad. The SIT headed by former Supreme Court judge MB Shah has asked the finance ministry to expedite information from tax havens on alleged Indian offenders. The problem for India stems from the fact that while Switzerland refuses to entertain requests based on stolen data, the double taxation avoidance agreement with the country revised in 2011 has only prospective effect. It does not allow India to ask for details of accounts already held there, since it violates existing Swiss laws.

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