The government on Friday said that tax information received from overseas authorities is subject to confidentiality and cannot be made public or used for prosecution purposes without prior permission. Financial Intelligence Unit India receives, processes as well as disseminates information related to suspect financial transactions.
“The requesting FIU may not transfer information shared by a disclosing FIU to a third party, nor make use of the information in an administrative, investigative, prosecutorial or judicial purpose without the prior consent of the FIU that disclosed the information,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
The information obtained by FIU-IND from a foreign jurisdiction through Egmont Exchange Framework of FIUs comes under norms prescribed by Egmont Group.
“All information exchanged by FIUs must be subjected to strict controls and safeguards to ensure that the information is used only in an unauthorised manner, consistent with national provisions of privacy and data protection,” Mukherjee noted.
FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council headed by the Finance Minister.
The Minister said that exchanged information must be treated as protected by the same confidentiality provisions as applicable to similar information from domestic sources, obtained by the receiving FIU.
Mukherjee said that under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, FIU-IND is authorised to share information with 15 agencies, including the Central Board of Direct Taxes, as notified by the government from time to time.
“The intelligence received by FIU-IND from its foreign counterparts is shared with these authorised agencies with the prior consent of the disclosing FIU,” he said.
In its efforts to track down black money stashed away abroad, the government is in the process of revising Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements as well as entering into Tax Information Exchange Agreements with various countries.