In recent times EOI has attained a great deal of significance at international level. It is a mean to share information by the treaty partners for the purpose of taxing the untaxed and undeclared income by an individual or entity which operate in two or more than two tax jurisdictions. Such information is shared under the tax treaty or multilateral convention. Every tax treaty contains an article on exchange of information, as one of purposes of tax treaties is avoidance of fiscal evasion. It is obligatory on the treaty partner to share such information. EOI may be of three types.
Through this type of EOI, the treaty partner requests the other contracting state to provide certain information which is required for conducting audit and investigation of its own taxpayer having some business transactions with an individual residing in or entity located in another jurisdiction. All the options available for obtaining such information are exhausted domestically before approaching the treaty partner. Detail of the transaction and necessary documents are provided enabling the treaty partner to obtain such information domestically. The information is usually required in the shape of questions and the treaty partner provides answers to those questions. At times the information provided is not sufficient to carry out necessary effort to obtain it, therefore the requesting partner is requested to provide more details. In case all the information is not readily available, an interim reply is provided. Once the whole information is obtained, the same is forwarded with the request to keep it confidential and use it for the desired purpose as mentioned in the relevant article of tax treaty. Sometimes such information is also useful for the treaty partner.
During audit or investigation of its own taxpayer, the treaty partner comes across such information which, in its opinion may be of some use for the contracting state. Such information is shared spontaneously without expecting any reply from the treaty partner. Such information is being used for purpose of taxing the undeclared income or transaction. This may be helpful in revenue generation and expansion of tax base. The treaty partner may spontaneously reply by sharing the extent to which the information was helpful, off course with the words of thanks.
This is bulk information which is shared on annual basis amongst the tax jurisdictions. Every state collects information from its financial institutions regarding non-resident account holders and such information is then forwarded to its respective jurisdiction. This is relatively new way of EOI and Global Forum is streamling the flow of this information for avoidance of fiscal, evasion and bringing to tax net the untaxed international source of income. On receipt of information, the same is forwarded to the respective tax offices. No reply is provided in the case of automatic EOI to the treaty partner. It is flow of information on both sides and from both sides.