Access to info on Swiss accounts made easier

Written by: Pti
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Geneva, Jun 18: The Swiss Parliament on Friday, June 17 gave approval to amendments to tax treaties with countries, including India, that makes it easier for them to access information about the illegal funds held by their nationals in Swiss private banks.

The upper house of the Swiss Parliament endorsed amendments to double-taxation agreements in line with internationally applicable standards.

Governments which have signed DTAAs can now secure easy legal assistance and information as well as identify an account holder from their territories by providing an IBAN number or social security number.

The new amendments to Swiss banking secrecy laws can still be challenged by a popular referendum within 100 days, analysts said.

The beneficiaries from the new amendments include India, Germany, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, and Poland.

The Swiss Parliament approval comes at a time when the Indian government is facing intense pressure from the Opposition, the Supreme Court and civil society to bring back black money stashed away in tax havens.

In January this year, a Swiss Parliamentary panel has given go-ahead to revised tax treaty with India.

As per the revised taxation treaty with Switzerland, India can get information on secret bank accounts from Swiss authorities for cases dating from January 2011.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Swiss Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey signed a "protocol" to amend the double taxation agreement (DTA) in the area of taxes on income on August 30, 2010. 


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