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India gets tax data from France, British Virgin Islands
March, 21st 2015

Tax authorities have obtained fresh information from France on the so called HSBC cases and a visit to British Virgin Islands has yielded positive outcome as the government steps up its fight against black money.

Government sources said special units have been set up under each director general of income tax (investigation) to undertake expeditious and focused investigation in undisclosed foreign assets. The government is keen to ensure that there is zero tolerance for black money and hopes the two legislations that it has proposed will help tackle the menace effectively.

"Proactive and regular follow-up measures with France have led to obtaining further information in respect of the HSBC cases. Contacts have also been established with whistleblowers for obtaining new information," sources said.

They said India is now a leading force in the efforts to forge a multilateral regime for proactive sharing of financial information known as automatic exchange of information (AEOI) which will help global efforts to combat tax evasion.

The government has also taken a decision to enter into information-sharing arrangements with the US under Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). "The AEOI and FATCA will enable India to get information about financial transactions done by Indian tax payers in other countries," sources said.

In another development which is expected to expedite sharing of information, Switzerland has assured to start talks with India for concluding an AEOI agreement. "This is the first time that Switzerland has agreed to commence discussions on a bilateral agreement," sources said.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had spoken to his Swiss counterpart during his Davos visit in January on the issue. "As a result of the persistent efforts, information in certain cases involving substantial amounts of undisclosed income stashed abroad has started flowing in from Switzerland and other jurisdictions," sources said.

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