Thursday, May 14, 2009

India seeks offshore tax information

From TaxAnalysts' Worldwide Tax Daily:

"CBDT Chair S.S.N. Moorthy acknowledged that notices have been sent to individuals whose names were on a list provided by Germany, including some prominent businessmen and industrialists. "Whatever action can be taken under law will follow," he said."

Interesting - this relates at least in part to Liechtenstein's LGT bank, which was irritated to find that Germany's intelligence agencies had got access to confidential records. The report, which cites TJN estimates of quantities stored offshore, continues:

"The government, in an affidavit responding to a public interest petition filed by noted jurist Ram Jethmalani and four others, told the Supreme Court that it has the names of Indians with accounts at LGT Bank."

There is a catch, however:

"Tax professionals and income tax officers believe there will be roadblocks hindering access to those LGT accounts. For example, they cite the statute of limitations, which bars the income tax department from initiating proceedings on cases that date back further than six years."

Let's hope the statute of limitations (the Berlusconi defence) doesn't get in the way of proper prosecutions. Note this, too, from Credit Suisse.

India’s government needs to follow through on pledges to bring back cash stashed overseas to help fund an $85 billion economic stimulus plan and bolster markets, Credit Suisse Group AG and Credit Agricole SA say.

“India has to claw back every cent it can get,” Joseph Tan, chief economist for Asia in Singapore at Credit Suisse, the second-biggest Swiss bank, said in an interview. The prospect of “revenue is the impetus for this crackdown on tax evasion and tax havens,” he said."

Interesting messenger seemingly favouring a crackdown on tax havens: a major Swiss bank!


Anonymous John Elliott said...

Interesting indeed that a Swiss banker makes such comments, though one might interpret this as implying that the Indian government's motives are not the noble pursuit of justice but the ignoble pursuit of rupees to fill their empty coffers. Whatever their motives, the Indian government should pursue the tax evaders using LGT and other offshore evaders with utmost vigour: and the statute of limitations defence should be set aside in the public interest.

3:42 am  

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