Banking details of Indians with accounts in Switzerland will be available to tax authorities from today. Ending the era of Swiss bank secrecy, the move is seen as a significant step in government’s fight against black money. The first automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) under Common Reporting Standard (CRS) would start from next month.
"India will receive information of the calendar year 2018 in respect of all financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland. This will be a significant step in the government's fight against black money as the era of Swiss bank secrecy will finally be over," the Income Tax department said in a tweet.
The announcement follows meeting of a Swiss delegation led by Nicolas Mario Luscher, Deputy Head of Tax Division, State Sect for International Finance, with Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and senior tax officials of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
The information will include accounts that were closed during 2018. During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral exchange of information matters to expedite execution of tax information sharing requests made by India in specific cases, it said.
Switzerland, which has always been at the centre of the debate on black money allegedly stashed by Indians abroad, used to be known for very strong secrecy walls till a few years ago around its banking practices.
A huge global pressure has resulted in Switzerland relenting on the tough secrecy clauses its local laws gave to the banks.
Earlier this year, a joint declaration for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) was signed between India and Switzerland and it provided that both countries would start collecting data in accordance with the global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards.
While Switzerland had confirmed to the global standards on automatic exchange of information with the signing of the declaration, India, on its part, has promised to safeguard the confidentiality of the data.