Tax info exchange with Switzerland to start soon

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Switzerland will begin exchanging information from the current month under the Convention on Avoidance of Double Taxation (ADT), the Senate Standing Committee on Finance was informed on Tuesday. However, the said information exchange would only be applicable on future cases. Briefing the committee, FBR Senior Member Inland Revenue Policy Dr Muhammad Iqbal said information related to old cases cannot be obtained under the revised convention between Pakistan and Switzerland. The provision of the new Article 26 (exchange of information) of the Convention on ADT between Pakistan and Switzerland has been implemented from January 2018, he said. “If we strictly interpret the law, future information after signing of the agreement would be available, but we would try our level best to get past information as well – specifically details of Swiss bank accounts of Pakistanis,” he added. The Senate Committee was informed that the ADT treaty with the Swiss government does not cover the options to retrieve money deposited by Pakistani nationals in Swiss banks. Officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said retrieving money of Pakistani nationals deposited in the Swiss banks does not fall in the domain of the FBR nor is mandated by any agreement made for ADT. However, the federal government has taken several measures to obtain information about the wealth of Pakistanis lying in secret deposits and investments in Swiss banks for the purposes of avoiding taxation.Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2018

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