Switzerland, India to sign tax pact

7th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland expects to sign a pact with India in 2010 that would reveal Indian tax evaders holding Swiss bank accounts.

New Delhi -- Switzerland expects to conclude an agreement with India in 2010 that would allow New Delhi to find Indian tax evaders holding Swiss bank accounts, a report Monday said.

India's Congress-led government has been under opposition pressure to get details of accounts held by Indian citizens in the country's secretive banking system.

Switzerland's Vice-President Doris Leuthard said she was confident a deal could be reached between the two governments.

"I think next year this new treaty can be accomplished," she was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

The two governments are to begin talks in December on New Delhi's request for information about Indians holding Swiss bank accounts, the news agency said.

The talks will involve renegotiating a 1995 double taxation treaty to include tax evasion.

Leuthard said any Indian request must involve a demand for information about a specific individual.

"If India has a case of tax evasion against a citizen who has an account in our banks, then India can apply through set procedures to know the details," she said, according to The Economic Times newspaper.

India criticised Swiss banking secrecy after New Delhi was denied permission to review Swiss bank accounts in a search for tax evaders.

However, Switzerland in August concluded an agreement with the United States that gives the US Internal Revenue Service details of accounts held by 4,450 people suspected by Washington of evading taxes.

Asked why the rules appeared to be different for New Delhi and Washington, Leuthard said, "The US had a concrete demand. Legal procedures were already under way.

"These were all clients who cheated the authorities and we never cover (up) fraud," said Leuthard, who was in New Delhi to attend global trade talks earlier in September.

AFP / Expatica


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