It seems the United States isn’t the only country going to extremes in its effort to round up tax evaders. The Tax Department in India has made the decision to post 22 of its high-ranking officers in some of the world’s most popular offshore havens.
The targets? Indian citizens trying to use these jurisdictions as centers for laundering money and evading taxes.
Like the FBAR being used by the IRS, the Indian government has issued a proposal that will make it mandatory for tax payers to declare funds being kept in offshore banks as well as any assets being held overseas. Once this law goes into place, taxpayers found to be hiding their offshore accounts and assets will be rounded up and tried in a separate court for tax violators.
India, which currently has tax information agreements with 5 countries, is working on signing off on pacts with 22 more, and once they do, these “tax spies” will be funded by the tax department and will have the job of fishing for money launderers and tax evaders. Their sole reason for being in offshore havens is to snatch up their sneaky brethren.
Eight of these twenty-two high-ranking tax spies have been chosen and are being placed in areas around the world. The others are soon to follow. The way the tax information agreements are supposed to work, is that countries aren’t required to share information unless the requesting country has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a tax offense. It isn’t mandatory for countries to share information on a general basis.
I wonder how far these tax spies are going to be allowed to go when digging up information, and what is the deciding factor for “reasonable grounds” for a tax offense? Will the rest of the world follow suit?