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IPL franchises under the lens for service tax evasion
July, 01st 2010

After the Income Tax department raising a demand of over Rs 600 crore from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the service tax department, another arm of the finance ministry, has slapped as many as 32 showcause notices on Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises for alleged duty evasion to the tune of nearly Rs 64 crore.

The total collection of service tax by the department during the third season of IPL was Rs 29 crore. This was almost half of what it had made during IPL-2 which was held in South Africa. In the second season of IPL, the service tax collection was Rs 64 crore. The total collection made by service tax authorities in the first season was Rs 81 lakh.

While investigative agencies are yet to conclude probe on the remittances and shareholding pattern of these franchises, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) constituted a team to review payments received from IPL on suspicion of evasion.

Commissioners in different zones were asked to look into the accounts of these franchises and seek details of their earnings and expenditure.

Sources said service tax authorities in Bangalore had issued a maximum of 14 showcause notices for estimated evasion to the tune of Rs 8.85 crore. The highest evasion of Rs 37 crore, however, has been detected in the Mumbai region where three franchises are assessed.

The notices were issued to franchises after tax officials accounted for all services provided by various stakeholders relating to the IPL matches.

Service tax is levied on franchise fees paid by eight franchises to the BCCI, remittances made to UK-based IMG for management and business consultancy services, on payments received by franchises on sale of advertisement space and on income from the sale of game rights, such as any toy or game of any kind which is based on the IPL or team competing in the league.

The lowest showcause was of Rs 9 lakh issued by the Kolkata commissionerate. In case of Chandigarh, it was Rs 6.24 crore; for Delhi it was Rs 11.31 crore and Chennai Rs 29 lakh.

I-T authorities have raised a tax demand of Rs 684 crore from the BCCI rejecting the cricket body's claim to exempt its income starting assessment year 2007-08.

Sources said the I-T department has asked BCCI to pay Rs 118 crore for 2007-08, Rs 421 crore for 2008-09 and Rs 145 crore for 2009-10. The department had earlier withdrawn tax exemption to the cricket body stating that it no longer promoted cricket as a charitable activity.

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