India and Switzerland signed on Tuesday a pact for automatic exchange of information which would help authorities access details of Swiss bank accounts held by Indians, a move which is seen as crucial for the government’s fight against black money.
It will now be possible for India to receive from September, 2019 onwards, financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis, a finance ministry statement said.
Fighting the menace of black money stashed in offshore accounts has been a key priority area for the Narendra Modi government and authorities had held several rounds of discussions with their Swiss counterparts to ensure that there is exchange of information.
Sushil Chandra, chairman, CBDT (central board of direct taxes) signed the joint declaration and Gilles Roduit, deputy chief of mission of the Swiss embassy in India, signed the pact for implementing the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) between the two countries. Revenue secretary Hashmukh Adhia said the signing of the pact was a major step.
“Signing of joint declaration for implementation of automatic exchange of information (AEOI) between India and Switzerland is a big step,” Adhia said on micro-blogging site twitter.
“The income tax department will be able to obtain information from accounts of all Indians stashed in Switzerland from 2018 onwards,” he said.
Tax experts said this would act as deterrent to abuse the Swiss financial system to hide black money.