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Automatic info exchange talks with India at ‘earliest’: Swiss

Keen to help in India’s fight against black money menace, Switzerland has said talks on automatic exchange of tax information between the two countries will begin at the “earliest” once the domestic procedures are in place.

The assertion from Switzerland, which has been long perceived as a safe haven for stashing illicit wealth, comes close on the heels of the Alpine nation inking an initial pact for automatic exchange of tax information with European Union.

Apart from aggressively making efforts to procure details of its citizens having unaccounted money in Swiss banks, India has proposed a stringent law to tackle the issue of black money allegedly stashed abroad, including in Swiss banks.

Facing international pressure on the issue of black money, Switzerland has expressed readiness to embrace a global framework for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) on tax matters.

Citing discussions between officials of both sides last October, a Swiss Federal Department of Finance spokesperson told PTI from Berne that talks on automatic exchange of tax information would start at the earliest once the domestic procedures are completed in Switzerland.

Last year, Indian and Swiss officials held high level deliberations on boosting co-operation with regard to the black money problem.

“Switzerland took note of the interest expressed by India and it was agreed between Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das and State Secretary Jacques de Watteville that talks will commence at the earliest after completion of Swiss domestic procedures regarding the approval of the legal foundations for automatic exchange of information,” the official said.

Last October, the Swiss Federal Council approved the negotiating mandates for the government to move forward with the automatic tax information exchange mechanism.

In the initial phase, “consideration will be given to countries with which there are very close economic and political ties and which, if appropriate, provide their taxpayers with sufficient scope under national law for regularisation of undeclared assets,” the official said.Under the framework, prepared by Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), more than 40 jurisdictions including India have agreed to become ‘early adopters’ of an ‘automatic exchange of information’ mechanism.

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