India set to join OECD to pace up efforts to check tax evasion

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) India may soon join ranks withtop world economies by becoming a member of the Organisationfor Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and speed upits efforts to trace black money in foreign shores and tightenanti-money laundering regulations.

Sources in the Finance Ministry, engaged indeliberations with the top world economic body, said India''schances have been boosted after the country was inducted as afull-member of another such elite body -- the Financial ActionTask Force (FATF) last year, and an entry to the new eliteclub of economies is expected soon.

According to the OECD rules that are favourable toIndia''s position, the body "advocates exchange of informationbetween tax authorities on request in cases of specific taxenquiries to better equip tax authorities to tackle taxevasion under Article 26 of its model DTAA."

The world body, established in 1961, also "provides aforum in which governments can work together to shareexperiences and seek solutions to common problems" andconsiders India to be an "emerging giant" in terms of economy.

The top economic cooperation body presently has 34member nations which include the US, the UK, France, Germany,Canada, Italy and Switzerland.

India has presently been offered a position of beingat an "enhanced engagement" with the Paris headquartered bodyand such an arrangement, according to the OECD, always has the"potential in the future to lead to membership."

Sources said India is vying for the membership as itwill give the country the much needed ''push'' to track blackmoney, curb money laundering and check tax evasion to foreignshores at a time when continuous efforts are being taken torevise and strike Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA)and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with variouscountries and tax haven nations.

"The OECD has always desired that India reports backaction taken and gives feedback on the information passed onby them (in relation to tax treaties and other issues) inorder to assess the quality of the information (that the OECDnations sent). India always complied the norms," sources said.

The OECD has also approved the country''s effortsrelated to implementation of tax laws and other socio-economicdevelopment indices, they said.

The top body has also done an in-depth monitoring andpeer review of the implementation of the standards oftransparency and exchange of information for tax purposes ofIndia, last year.

Indian tax officials currently receive ''coded''information on income earned by Indian nationals abroad. Theyare not subject to tax there under DTAA as per OECD model taxconvention on income and capital.

Countries like the US, Japan, Korea, Finland and NewZealand have sent good information under these codes.

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