Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Foreign Tax & Tax Research Division
Exchange of Information Cell, India
Dated 17th May, 2016
All the Pr. CCsIT/DGsIT(Inv.)/CCsIT(Central)
Sub: Request for refrainment from notifying taxpayers concerned in Form — A of Manual on Exchange of Information issued by C.B.D.T. in May, 2015 — Reg.
It is frequently seen that requests for Exchange of Information in Form A (of the Manual of Exchange of Information issued by C.B.D.T. in May, 2015) addressed to Foreign Tax Authorities have been received from field formations without proper explanation in SI. No. 8 of Part II of Form A as to why it is necessary to refrain from notifying the taxpayer. This leads to avoidable delays on account of further correspondences between Foreign Tax Authorities, FT&TR Division and field formations for subsequent clarification in this regard.
2. In this context, it is stated that as per international standard for Exchange of Information, a requesting State may request exception from ‘prior notification’ if it is able to demonstrate through some specific evidence that the request for information is either (a) very urgent or (b) prior notification to the taxpayer/person of such request for information is likely to hamper/undermine the success of investigation. It is seen that very often such evidences and explanations are not attached with the request. Further, whenever a request for refrainment from notification is made, it automatically implies that information which is in possession of the taxpayer cannot be obtained and provided by the Foreign Tax Authorities. Thus, in many cases, Foreign Tax Authorities are expressing their inability to provide the information when it has to be obtained from the taxpayer due to the `refrainment from notification’ condition set out in our requests. Therefore, request for ‘refrainment from prior notification’ may be made only in exceptional circumstances and not as a matter of routine.
3. In view of the above, it is requested that necessary instructions may be issued to the Pr. CsIT/ Ds1T(Inv.) in your charge to ensure that SI. No. 8 of Form A (Part II) clearly mentions whether a request to refrain from notifying taxpayer(s) involved is to be made to the Foreign Tax Authorities. It is also requested that in case of refrainment is required, sufficient explanation/justification may be furnished to demonstrate the necessity of refrainment from prior notification, failing which, the request from refrainment from prior notification may not be forwarded by the FT&TR Division.
4. This issues with the approval of Chairman, C.B.D.T.
(E. V. Bhaskar)
Under Secretary [FT&TR-III(2)]
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