New Delhi: Making it difficult for the Indian government to claim it does not have access to details of account holders in tax havens abroad, Switzerland on Friday gave approval to the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with several countries including India.

With agreement in place, Switzerland has opened new doors for the Indian government to acquire details and bring back black money stashed in Swiss banks.

The new agreement makes it mandatory for all the banks in Switzerland to provide information regarding the account holders to the Indian government and in case of default the latter would avail the right to impose penalty on the concerned bank.

Hailing the decision, Finance Ministry officials termed it as a significant step as it will help the government in checking the black money from getting parked abroad.

However, the onus of proving the deposited amount to be black money would now lie on the Indian government, sources said.

“In case, after submitting all the details, Swiss banks try to remain ignorant or refuse to divulge any detail then penalty can also be levied on them,” sources added.

Before this agreement, selected countries like US and UK had the right to get the details from Swiss banks.

Few months back, US had imposed a penalty of USD 75 crore on UBS bank for accepting deposits from US citizens who had not paid taxes in America.

However, it will not be mandatory for Swiss banks to give every detail to the Indian government but only provide those, which are related to individuals. Data regarding business houses, companies or any institution will only be provided in case the Indian government proves the deposits to be illegal.

JPN/Bureau