In a major boost for India and other countries seeking details on suspected black money stashed in Swiss banks, Switzerland on Tuesday agreed to automatic exchange of information and mutual administrative assistance in tax matters with overseas authorities.
The development, which pulls down the famed secrecy wall surrounding Swiss banks, would lead to Switzerland providing all forms of mutual assistance - exchange on request, spontaneous information sharing, tax examinations abroad, and assistance in tax collection.
Switzerland has been facing intense global pressure to share information about accounts in its banks, which have long been known to be misused by entities from across the world, for evading taxes in their local jurisdictions. Switzerland on Tuesday signed the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developments (OECD) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The convention, which has now been signed by 58 countries including India, provides for sharing of information and mutual cooperation.
According to latest figures released by Swiss National Bank, total funds held by Indians in Swiss banks fell to about Rs 9,000 crore at the end of 2012, from about Rs 14,000 crore a year ago.