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I-T notice to 50 as Germany gives black money list
May, 28th 2010

Indias efforts to retrieve black money stashed away in foreign banks appears have made a significant headway with Germany providing New Delhi with a list of 50 individuals holding accounts in banks there. Armed with the information provided by the German government, the income-tax department has sent notices of tax evasion to these individuals.

A senior CBDT official confirmed on Thursday night that the department had indeed acted on the basis of the tip-off received from the Germans, but refused to part with more details. Sources in the finance ministry told a news agency that the government in Germany had sent a list around two months ago and notices were sent after scrutinising it.

Based on whatever information we received from the German authorities, we have issued notices to the tax evaders related to Indian context in February and March, a senior official of the Central Board of Direct Taxes told the agency.

The exact number of persons contained in the list and the amount of illegal money in the accounts of German banks could not be ascertained immediately. The sources also indicated that information about these persons is being collected and other suitable action could follow. The German authorities, the official said, had sent the list of individuals who had stashed money in the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein and in other tax havens.

We have already taxed the amount. Retrieving the tax money will take time, he added. The black money issue had been converted into a major electoral plank by BJPs prime ministerial candidate L K Advani in the run-up to the general election last year.

Replying to the motion of thanks on the Presidential address on March 5 this year, Mr Singh had told the Lok Sabha that the government has identified 20 countries where Indians could have parked black money. He also said that the government would soon sign agreements with these nations for unearthing black money.

Referring to Mr Advanis speech in the Lok Sabha that raised the issue of money deposited abroad, Mr Singh said: Twenty countries and jurisdictions have been prioritised for entering into agreements regarding exchange of information and assistance in the collection of taxes. He pointed out that negotiations have been completed with the Bahamas and Bermuda and steps are being taken for signing of agreements. The government has also approached Switzerland for renegotiation of our tax treaty so that we can have access to bank information, Mr Singh said.

Observing that negotiations with Switzerland were held in November 2009, he said: The matter is being pursued for finalising a new protocol through which we will be able to obtain information in specific cases. The prime minister said India was an active participant in global fora for improving transparency and exchange of information on tax matters.

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