Indian tax-haven deposits during ’13-17 dive south: Govt report

Chennai: Money held by Indians in tax havens overseas declined significantly in the five year period between 2013 and 2017, an internal government report has stated.

The report that was released earlier this week has stated that deposits and non-bank loans of Indians in these secretive and low-tax jurisdictions sinked comparatively. The report is based on data from the Bank for International Settlements, the global body of central banks.

As per the report, there was a 62 per cent decline in non-bank loans and deposits by Indians in Luxembourg. Money parked by Indians there came down to $11 million in 2017 from $29 million in 2013.

In Jersey, there was a 17.6 per cent decline to $215 million in 2017 from $261 million in 2013. Similarly, there has been a 39.4 per cent decline in such deposits in Isle of Man from $119 million in 2013 to $72 million in 2017.

Apart from tax havens, the data looks at such Indian monies in the UK and France. In the case of the UK, the deposits are down 32.2 per cent to $1.85 billion from $2.73 billion over the period under consideration. For France, the decline is a steeper 66.3 per cent to $141 million from $419 million.

Last month, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told the Rajya Sabha that Indian deposits in Swiss banks had fallen by 34.5 per cent in 2017 and by 80 per cent since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014.

Goyal has stated the facts in response to reports of a 50 per cent increase in Swiss banks’ total liabilities towards India. This included non-deposit liabilities and the business of Swiss branches located in India.

Goyal had said according to the Swiss authorities, the more reliable data source for deposits held in Switzerland is the Locational Banking Statistics of the Bank of International Settlements.

The Minister had noted that the automatic exchange of information based on Common Reporting Standard commenced in 2017, with many countries enabling India to receive financial account information of Indian residents.

In a statement, the Switzerland government had noted that detailed financial information of Indian residents with accounts maintained by a Swiss financial institution in 2018 will be provided for the first time to the Indian tax authorities in September 2019 and on a yearly basis thereafter.

The information would include accounts closed during 2018. “Accordingly, assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland cannot be considered as ‘Black Money’,” it noted.