India has joined a group of nearly 40 nations that have signed a Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption, committing to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership, the UK government said.
“The following countries have committed to the initiative to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership. The next stage will be for the development of a global standard for this exchange,” said a release on Wednesday (June 8) by the UK’s Treasury Department with a list of all those signed up.
Besides India, some of the other countries outside Europe on the list include Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico and the UAE.
The initiative aims to develop a global standard for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership data between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of partner countries.
“This will mean that everyone in the world will be able to see who really owns and controls each and every company in these countries,” Cameron had said last month when he had announced the new initiative at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016 here.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi made an election pledge in 2014 to recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid income tax. The move is seen as a step in that direction.
Most European countries except Switzerland are signed up to this automatic exchange mechanism.
Earlier this week, Switzerland had agreed to work with Indian authorities to tackle tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts.
After talks in Geneva with Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann and round-table discussions with Swiss businessmen, Modi said the two countries had agreed to make combating tax evasion and “black money” a shared priority.
“We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect,” he said, referring to a portal supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Schneider-Ammann said no figure had been put on the amount of “black money” to be recovered. Talks would begin later this month, he added.