Indians in HSBC list are in Catch-22 situation – Swiss Tax Letters

The Swiss accounts of Indian clients of HSBC Geneva have entered the last lap. Last week, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration(FTA) has started sending letters to these customers, seeking their consent- is an old ritual under Swiss law- before revealing their information to the Indian authorities.

Till now four persons- including a wholesale trader, a diamond merchant and people having a mid-sized manufacturing company-  have received the Swiss FTA communiqué. They need to respond in 10 days and these people were put in Catch 22 situation. 

The data will be immediately passed on to the Indian Income Tax department as well as to the customers once the consent is given. However, the customers who have not given any consent their information will also get disclosed once it is recorded in the Swiss official gazette. 

Most Indian account holders had put up the defense that the information on the basis of which the tax authorities conducted a raid on them, reopened assessment and they claimed tax on the ‘undisclosed income’ in HSBC accounts was a stolen data. And this defense is comparatively on shaky ground now. 
However, if any information is shared by Switzerland, then the government may invoke a harsh law against the black money holder.