India and Bermuda have signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA). The agreement was signed by Shri S. S. Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Revenue in the Ministry of Finance from Indian side and Dr. Ewart Brown, Premier of Bermuda from Bermuda side. This is the first TIEA being signed by India.
Salient features of this agreement are as follows:-
– It is based on international standard of transparency and exchange of information.
– Information must be relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Contracting Parties concerning taxes covered by the agreement.
– The requesting State has to provide some minimum details about the information requested in order to justify the relevance criteria.
– Information is to be treated as secret and can be disclosed to only specified person or authorities, which are tax authorities or its oversight body.
– It 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.
– There is a specific provision that the requested Party shall use its information gathering measures to obtain the requested information even though that Party may not need such information for its own tax purposes.
– There is a specific provision for providing banking and ownership information.
– The Agreement also allows exchange of past information in criminal tax matters.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Palanimanickam said that it is a great occasion for India to be signing its first TIEA with Bermuda. The Agreement is important in the perspective of efforts made by Global Forum to build an effective system for exchange of information around the world. India being the vice chair of Peer Review and Bermuda being the vice chair of Global Forum are playing important role in this work. The Minister expressed hope that the relationship between the two countries would be strengthened with this Agreement.