World Economic Forum: Swiss banks devise new 'cash' strategies, including Bitcoins, for rich clients from India

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Many bankers admitted, on condition of anonymity, that such meetings are scheduled to be held on the sidelines of World Economic Forum summit in Davos. Reuters Many bankers admitted, on condition of anonymity, that such meetings are scheduled to be held on the sidelines of World Economic Forum summit in Davos. Reuters
SummaryAs hundreds of world's rich congregate for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting...

Swiss banks has been a matter of great debate back in India for many years and the main Opposition Party BJP is making it a major plank for the upcoming general elections.

While India and Switzerland governments have revised their tax treaty to facilitate greater information sharing and cooperation for apprehending the alleged tax offenders, there has not been any major headway at ground level as yet.

Switzerland recently also offered to send a delegation to India to further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries on this front.

Switzerland's Federal Department of Finance had said it has intensified its efforts in the field of information exchange to explain Swiss laws and practice to the Indian authorities in a transparent way.

"For doing so, a Swiss delegation is prepared to travel to New Delhi to discuss the current situation and, if need be, define measures for enhancing the collaboration in tax matters," a Swiss Federal Department of Finance spokesperson had said.

However, the OECD tax convention that Switzerland signed last year on October 15 has not yet come into force.

"Once it is in force, the information exchange between Switzerland and India will be further enhanced," the official had said.

As per the latest data available with the European nation's central bank, the Swiss National Bank, the total funds held by Indians in Swiss banks declined to a record low of about Rs 9,000 crore (1.42 billion Swiss francs) at the end of 2012, as compared to around Rs 14,000 crore (2.18 billion Swiss francs) a year ago.

The overall funds held in Swiss banks by entities from across the world also fell from USD 1.65 trillion to USD 1.5 trillion during 2012.

Seen as a major step in cracking down on black money menace, Switzerland in October last year agreed to automatic exchange of tax information and mutual administrative assistance in tax matters with overseas jurisdictions.

This has made the European nation a signatory to OECD's Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, to which India is also a signatory.

The convention, once operational, would require Switzerland to extend all kinds of mutual assistance in tax matters including exchange on request, spontaneous information sharing, tax examinations abroad, and assistance in tax collection.

Paris-based OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), sets the global tax standards and is the key player in international efforts to curb the menace of tax evasion and black money.

On October 16 last, Swiss government

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