“I’m going to India to pay a courtesy visit to our colleagues from India because there’s a new team or at least a new interlocutor, Akhilesh Ranjan, the joint Secretary on the Revenue Department who looks after international tax matters”, Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD’s centre for Taxation and Administration told The Hindu on the eve of his departure to India.

Mr. Saint-Amans is one of the key persons to have worked on the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, recently signed by Switzerland which should pave the way for better cooperation in the fight against fraud and tax evasion. India is already a signatory to the Convention while Chile on Monday, became the latest state to sign it. “This convention puts an end to tax evasion since there is increasing transparency and fewer and fewer tax havens. The British have signed the convention and will be extending it by November to their territories which have served as tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Guernsey etc.” Mr. Saint-Amans said.

Mr. Akhilesh Ranjan was appointed in July as India’s new competent authority for income tax matters relating to international taxation, replacing S. K. Mishra. This unit in the Revenue department also handles the policy aspect, including treaty negotiations and transfer pricing guidelines.

“We’ll be working very closely together as India is a key member of the of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) a project to better tax multinationals which currently have too much leeway to register their profits where they pay little or almost no tax. We’ve engineered it in such a way that that the 8 G20 non-OECD countries, including India will be on an equal footing.

There are a few key meetings in the coming months particularly one in Jakarta in November, and we shall be taking a broad overview on the OECD agenda on tax matters, the BEPS project, the automatic exchange of information, the Global Forum on Transparency and all other forms of cooperation.

Mr. Saint-Amans said the OECD has three principal threads of action based on the mandate received from the G20. “One is fighting base erosion and profit shifting; the second is improving transparency through better information exchange on request; and the third is promoting domestic resource mobilisation by which we mean helping developing countries better assess their taxes and increase their revenue for development which means also relying a little less on aid and more on taxation.”

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