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Black Money: Finance Ministry to ask tax havens for past banking info
December, 14th 2011

Broadening its probe in overseas black money cases, the Finance Ministry has decided to write to tax havens and other countries to obtain past information of banking-related transactions in select cases.

Top sources said that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has obtained data of a number of accounts in foreign locations, including tax havens, and it will now write to these countries to share information about past banking transactions under the amended and rectified provisions of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

"The CBDT has begun renegotiation with almost 75 countries to broaden the scope of exchange of information under DTAA and the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA). Banking information on select accounts of the past are now being asked from some of the countries as the I-T department has obtained reports of suspected money stashed by few entities," official sources said.

The countries that will be approached include the US, UK, British Virgin Islands among others, they said.

India, at present, has completed negotiation with 60 countries/jurisdictions which includes 24 existing DTAAs, 19 new DTAAs and 17 TIEAs while negotiations with 26 countries/jurisdictions are underway.

"In certain treaties, like that with Switzerland, CBDT cannot ask for transactions and banking information done in the past but in some treaties past information can be obtained. Such countries and tax havens are being approached," sources said.

More than 30,000 pieces of information about black money in India are also under scrutiny of the Income Tax Department.

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