Post Swiss Bank sharing, 100 HNIs shortlisted
The Automatic Exchange of Information mechanism between India and Switzerland is being seen as a major boost in India’s fight against suspected black money stashed abroad
A joint team of officials from Central Boad of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Bureau of Investigation and other probe agencies, who are looking into the details of data shared by the Swiss Bank, have shortlisted over 100 accounts of High Networth Individuals (HNI) suspected of tax evasion.
“There are about 100 HNIs who are being shortlisted for possible tax evasion, including businesses and celebrities. In the next few weeks, the team will send notices and initiate a probe,” a senior CBDT official, who is aware of the developments, told TMS.
The details of these accounts, said the official, which have been shared recently by Swiss authorities, are being analysed and the money trails probed. Most of the accounts belong to businesses such as auto components, chemicals, textiles, real estate, diamond and jewellery and steel products. The tax officials are also looking for possible political links.
Although the authorities suspect that several accounts are being closed, the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) mechanism between India and Switzerland provides that the details are being shared with India even for those accounts that were closed in 2018. The AEOI is being seen as a major boost in India’s fight against suspected black money stashed abroad.
A Swiss delegation was in India late last month before the first set of details could get shared under the new AEOI. The two sides also discussed possible steps to expedite execution of tax information sharing as requested by India in specific cases, and to enhance collaboration in offshore tax compliance matters.
If an Indian has a bank account in Switzerland, the bank would now disclose his or her data to the Swiss authorities, which would automatically forward the information to Indian tax authorities and any necessary action can be taken thereafter. The details that Switzerland will share with Indian tax authorities under this framework would include account numbers, credit balance and all kinds of financial income for each Indian client of every Swiss financial institution. The first despatch this month will be followed by further despatches on a yearly basis, as per Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance. However, the details received by India would be governed by confidentiality provisions. The AEOI would only relate to accounts that are officially in the name of Indian residents.