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

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Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra on Wednesday said that the tax exchange agreements with other countries was resulting in information pouring in at a fast pace, thus there was no escaping for the multi-national 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 tax 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 Tax 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 income tax details and raise tax 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 tax information exchange agreements, including Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Tax 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 tax laws.

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

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

"Tax transparency and tax certainty are the guiding principles of taxation. There is need to make tax laws more effective, rational and transparent. We welcome suggestions so that tax laws can be made simpler," the CBDT 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 Income Tax (International Taxation), Ministry of Finance, who was also present at the conference, said that there was internationally a shift to tax cooperation and common tax policy which makes evading taxation difficult.

"Countries have agreed to share tax 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.

 


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