The governments of the Republic of India and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have entered into a Tax Information Exchange Agreement to facilitate the exchange of information and assistance in the collection of taxes. This agreement, which aims to ensure transparency and prevent tax evasion, outlines the scope, procedures, and obligations of both parties.
Scope of the Agreement
The agreement, outlined in various articles, is designed to promote the exchange of information relevant to the administration and enforcement of domestic tax laws in both India and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This exchange encompasses information necessary for determining, assessing, and collecting taxes, as well as recovering and enforcing tax claims, or investigating and prosecuting tax matters. Both competent authorities from the contracting parties are committed to assisting each other in the collection of tax claims.
Jurisdiction and Taxes Covered
The agreement makes it clear that information will be exchanged without regard to the residence of the person in question or the location of the information. It covers all taxes imposed by the central government or local authorities, regardless of the manner in which they are levied. Furthermore, it applies to any identical or substantially similar taxes introduced after the agreement’s signature, with both parties obligated to notify each other of substantial changes to their taxation and information gathering measures.
The agreement provides comprehensive definitions to ensure clarity in its implementation. It defines terms such as “India,” “Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” “Contracting Party,” “competent authority,” and various tax-related terms. These definitions help avoid ambiguity and ensure that the agreement is applied consistently by both parties.
Exchange of Information Upon Request
One of the key provisions of the agreement is the obligation of the requested party’s competent authority to provide information upon request by the requesting party’s competent authority. This information is to be shared without consideration of the requesting party’s need for it or whether the conduct under investigation would constitute a crime in the requested party. The requested party is also required to use all relevant information gathering measures to fulfill the request.
Assistance in the Collection of Tax Claims
The agreement allows the parties to assist each other in the collection of tax claims, including taxes, interest, penalties, and collection costs. This can involve the enforcement of tax claims, measures of conservancy, and freezing of assets. However, the agreement does not impose an obligation to provide assistance if the administrative burden is disproportionate or if it is contrary to public policy.
Confidentiality and Mutual Agreement Procedure
The agreement places a strong emphasis on maintaining the confidentiality of the exchanged information. It can only be disclosed to specific authorities and for tax-related purposes. In cases of difficulties or doubts regarding the agreement’s implementation or interpretation, the competent authorities of the contracting parties are encouraged to resolve the matter through mutual agreement.