- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of AEOI and CRS.
For Mains: need for and the significance of AEOI.
Context: Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Regime between Switzerland and India kicked off from September 1, 2019. Under this mechanism, India will start receiving information on all financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland, for the year 2018.
What does this mean for India, and how will the exchange of information be governed?
This is not a new measure. In 2016, India and Switzerland had signed an information-sharing deal on bank accounts, which was to come in effect from September 2019.
The step is likely to shed more light on the wealth Indians have stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, for so long governed by strict local rules of secrecy.
In 2018, data from Zurich-based Swiss National Bank (SNB) had shown that after declining for three years, money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks rose 50 per cent to CHF (Swiss Franc) 1.02 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017 over the previous year.
What is AEOI?
Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is systematic and periodic transmission of “bulk” taxpayer information by the source country to the residence country, which is possible under most of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC).
It aims to reduce global tax evasion.
It is to be carried out under Common Reporting Standard (CRS) of OECD.
AEOI is the exchange of information between countries without having to request it.
Need for AEOI:
Tax payers operate cross border whereas tax administration is limited to national borders. This has helped tax evasion by shifting money to other countries by citizens. Both tax evasion and tax avoidance have escalated; facilitated by quick transfer of income from one country to another.
Vast amounts of money are kept offshore and go untaxed to the extent that taxpayers fail to comply with tax obligations in their home jurisdictions.
Tackling this cross national transfer of money to avoid and evade taxes indicate that national efforts are not enough to fight black money. Hence there is the need for tax cooperation and tax information exchanges between countries.
Significance and benefits of AEOI:
- Enables the discovery of formerly undetected tax evasion.
- Enable governments to recover tax revenue lost to non-compliant taxpayers, and will further strengthen international efforts to increase transparency, cooperation, and accountability among financial institutions and tax administrations.
- Generate secondary benefits by increasing voluntary disclosures of concealed assets and by encouraging taxpayers to report all relevant information.
Sources: the Hindu.