SAARC to avoid double taxation

Kathmandu, August 29:

Senior tax officials from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)countries are meeting here tomorrow to discuss on multilateral tax treaty for the region. The third meeting of a sub-group on avoidance of double taxation being held at SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu is also likely to finalise the draft of SAARC Limited Multilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

The official delegates from all seven-member countries have already arrived here to take part in the meeting, said an official at the SAARC Secretariat. The DTAA could be bad news for tax evaders. Member countries like Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would soon be able to exchange information and assistance for settling outstanding revenue claims of individual traders and firms. If endorsed, this would be the first limited DTAA for a region. It would encompass four elements pertaining to students, professors, teachers and research scholars, exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes. Officials said that the limited DTAA would extend tax exemption to students, teachers, professors and research scholars.

“In order to enable exchange of information, the SAARC member countries could agree on the setting up of a nodal agency or a central information desk at the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu,” said an official at the ministry of finance. Meanwhile, the 10th meeting of Committee of Experts (CoE) on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement is also scheduled to be held in Kathmandu from August 31 to September 3 for further negotiations on the four outstanding issues — sensitive lists, SAFTA rules of origin, mechanism of compensation of revenue loss and technical assistance to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).