New Delhi: In its effort to unearth black money stashed away abroad, India has received data on over 24,000 instances of alleged tax evasion and dubious funds which has been detected in foreign shores in the last fiscal year.

These cases are now under investigation by the tax-man even as the special investigation team (SIT) on black money has set its eye on tracking the outcome of this classified information which has been received from over a dozen countries during the 2013-14 fiscal year. The bulk of the information on these foreign accounts and statements, with a basic fledgling domestic connect in each of them, has been received from New Zealand, followed by Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark.

According to the data accessed by PTI and provided to the SIT by the finance ministry, its special unit designated for the task and placed under Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) received a total of 24,085 pieces of data under the automatic tax information exchange route, which is also the legal treaty for exchange of data related to tax matters.

CBDT, which uses Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and the Tax Information Exchange Treaties (TIEAs) to obtain such data, has reported to SIT that these figures have increased as compared to last year and are set to “explode" in the future. “Automatic exchange of tax information is done as per the norms set by OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development)," said the finance ministry report.

The Paris-based OECD is a global body which sets international tax and economic policies which are followed by over 34 member countries, including India. While New Zealand shared 10,372 pieces of data with Indian authorities, the share of the other countries was: Spain (4,169), UK (3,164), Sweden (2,404), Denmark (2,145), Finland (685), Portugal (625), Japan (440) and Slovenia (44). Other countries which responded to India’s request with relatively smaller pieces of data in the last fiscal include Australia, Mexico, Italy and Trinidad and Tobago.

Instances of trade-based money laundering including that through submission of forged import bills is likely to be discussed by SIT. Revenue intelligence agencies have noticed new trends in trade-linked money laundering through misrepresentation of price, quantity and content of imports or exports. Of late, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has found that some importers were submitting fake import bills to get bank remittances in their foreign accounts mainly located in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Switzerland has made key changes in its local laws governing assistance to foreign nations in their pursuit of black money allegedly kept in Swiss banks.

These amendments, which have come into force this month, would allow India and other countries to make ‘group requests’ for information about suspected black money hoarders, while Swiss authorities would not give prior intimation to suspected individuals or entities before sharing their details.

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