New Delhi: For the first time ever, India has received the first lot of details about Indians maintaining accounts in Swiss banks. This was made possible under a new automatic exchange of information framework between India and Switzerland.

India figures among 75 countries with which Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on AEOI, an FTA spokesperson told news agency PTI.

This is the first time that India has received details from Switzerland under the AEOI framework, which provides for exchange of information on financial accounts that currently active as well as those accounts that were closed during 2018. The next exchange would take place in September 2020.

This is a significant move in the Narendra Modi government’s fight against black money ending the era of Swiss bank secrecy.

Following the first exchange last year, in which no technical problems were encountered, this year the AEOI involved a total of 75 countries. With 63 of these countries, the exchange of information was reciprocal. In the case of 12 countries, Switzerland received information but did not provide any, either because those countries do not yet meet the international requirements on confidentiality and data security (Belize, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Montserrat, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cyprus) or because they chose not to receive data (Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands).

Between August 29 and August 30, a Swiss delegation, led by the deputy head of the tax division in the state secretariat for international finance, Nicolas Mario Luscher, met revenue secretary A B Pandey, CBDT chairman P C Mody and CBDT member (Legislation) Akhilesh Ranjan before the regime started.

The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) agreement was signed in 2016. According to the pact, it was decided that both countries intend to start collecting data in accordance with global AEOI standard in 2018 and to exchange it from 2019 onwards. Both jurisdictions will inform each other of any relevant developments with respect to the implementation of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) CRS (Common Reporting Standard). Each jurisdiction will confirm that it has informed other jurisdiction about the modalities made available to persons making a voluntary disclosure of their financial assets.