500 tax information exchange pacts signed: Pranab

Chandra Shekhar

Paris, Feb 20 (PTI) Indian Finance Minister PranabMukherjee has said about 500 tax information exchangeagreements have been signed between different countries acrossthe globe, a development that will help fight the menace oftax evasion and track ill-gotten money.

Mukherjee, who is spearheading the fight against taxevasion at the G-20 grouping, also made a case for collectiveaction against those countries that refuse to part with taxand 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 signedabout 13 TIEAs," the minister said after the conclusion of thetwo-day meeting of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central BankGovernors here.

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

Pointing out that different definitions of expressionslike ''tax evasion'' and ''tax fraud'' lead to problems, Mukherjeesaid there was a need to harmonise them so that countries canexchange information without any hindrance.

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

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

Revised DTAA will help in seeking banking informationabout the offenders.

The Indian government has been facing flak from theOpposition for not being able to bring back black moneystashed in tax havens and also naming persons involved in suchtransactions.

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