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No escape for firms as tax information pours in from other countries: CBDT

India has tax information exchange agreements with 130 countries

IANS  |  New Delhi 

income tax, I-T
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(CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra on Wednesday said that the exchange agreements with other countries was resulting in information pouring in at a fast pace, thus there was no escaping for the multi-companies (MNCs) from fair taxation.

"We have got wide (tax) information from countries. We have agreements with 130 countries. It's like a global hub. Information on transparency is coming at a fast pace. It is a thing of past that any information can be hidden," Chandra said here at the 14th International Conference organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

"Each company/MNC thus should believe in fair taxation," he added.

Referring to the Panama Papers disclosures, he said that the information has been received on it from various countries.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier had said that in some cases of Panama Papers details have been received and criminal proceedings will be carried out.

"In cases of which we are receiving details, we send notices, assess their details and raise demand. According to the law, criminal proceedings are also carried out. In HSBC and now in Panama Papers, the proceedings will be carried out. In some cases details are received.

It is now a disincentive and a risky business," Jaitley had said in the Lok Sabha on August 1.

India has information exchange agreements, including Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA), with 130 countries.

Chandra said that the aim of the department is to eradicate black money, reduce litigation and bring certainty in laws.

On June 7, 65 countries, including India, signed the multilateral convention to implement treaty related measures to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).

To foster a non-adversarial regime, also signs Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), which currently stand at a total of 171.

"transparency and certainty are the guiding principles of taxation. There is need to make laws more effective, rational and transparent. We welcome suggestions so that laws can be made simpler," the Chairman said.

He said that the department would also ensure that the genuine taxpayer does not suffer and would act as a facilitator.

"We want proper application of law without any misuse of the treaty, transparency of transactions and settlement of litigations as soon as possible," he said.

He said that in the last 3-4 years, lot of changes have been made in international taxation and countries will have to be ready for capacity building on all fronts.

"International taxation is an issue which is not fully qualified in any country. Now more countries are asking their share in taxation," he added.

Akhilesh Ranjan, Principal Chief Commissioner of (International Taxation), Ministry of Finance, who was also present at the conference, said that there was internationally a shift to cooperation and common policy which makes evading taxation difficult.

"Countries have agreed to share information on the automatic basis. They are willing to share data. So there is no escaping now. The industry has no option but to come up with ways to comply," Ranjan said.

"Businesses have to understand that days to contrive agreements are over. We are looking ahead at a lot of changes," he added.

First Published: Wed, August 23 2017. 14:56 IST