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Pranab: 500 tax information exchange pacts signed
February, 21st 2011

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said about 500 tax information exchange agreements have been signed between different countries across the globe, a development that will help fight the menace of tax evasion and track ill-gotten money.

Mukherjee, who is spearheading the fight against tax evasion at the G-20 grouping, also made a case for collective action against those countries that refuse to part with tax and banking information essential for tracking slush funds.

"Till now, nearly 500 Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) have been signed all over the world. India has signed about 13 TIEAs," the minister said after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors here.

Under TIEAs, countries are required to share tax and banking information about individuals and companies. At the G-20 Seoul summit last year, the G-20 leaders called for all jurisdictions to conclude TIEAs whenever requested by the other partner.

Pointing out that different definitions of expressions like 'tax evasion' and 'tax fraud' lead to problems, Mukherjee said there was a need to harmonise them so that countries can exchange information without any hindrance.

The minister further said that India was in the process of revising its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with all 78 countries which whom it had signed such agreements.

"Revision of DTAA with 10 countries have been completed and many more are in the offing," he said.

Revised DTAA will help in seeking banking information about the offenders.

The Indian government has been facing flak from the Opposition for not being able to bring back black money stashed in tax havens and also naming persons involved in such transactions.

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