India has inked a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Bahamas based on international standards of transparency for exchange of banking and ownership information to check tax evasion and money laundering.

This is the fourth such TIEA — as it is known in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) parlance — that India has entered into with so-called ‘tax havens' or jurisdictions. These are in line with the double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAAs) with other sovereign countries which have been revisited with the primary objective of tracking black money and terror financing.

Among the three TIEAs that India has entered into with such jurisdictions till now, the first was with Bermuda in October last year, followed by a pact with the Isle of Man last week and the third with British Virgin Islands earlier this week.

Salient features

According to an official statement here, among the salient features of the agreement inked with the Bahamas on Friday, there is a specific provision for providing banking and ownership information for which the requesting state has to provide some minimum details about the information sought.

“Information must be foreseably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Contracting Parties concerning taxes and tax matters covered by the agreement. The requesting State has to provide some minimum details about the information requested in order to justify the foreseably relevance criteria,” it said.

The agreement also provides for disclosure of information to any other person or entity or authority or any other jurisdiction with the written consent of the competent authority of the requested Party.

Another feature of the agreement is a “specific provision that the requested Party shall provide upon request the information even though that Party may not need such information for its own tax purposes”.

The India-Bahamas TIEA was signed by Mohinder S. Grover, High Commissioner of India to Jamaica and concurrently accredited to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Zhivargo Laing, MP, Minister of State for Finance for the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

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