Supreme Court to re-open Amitabh Bachchans’s tax-case

Dear Editor,

It refers to media-reports about Supreme Court allowing Income Tax Department to re-open tax-assessment case of mega-star Amitabh Bachan for the year 2001-02 wherein Income Tax Department may get Rs. 1.66 crores. Dispute was because of an undesired exemption provided to those artistes who either earn by performing outside the country or receive payment from foreign agencies. Department’s argument was that the megastar’s income was for anchoring famous TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ where he was not an artist.

Some time back, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) Mumbai held huge earning of rupees 98 lakhs in the fiscal-year 2000-01 as commentator by prominent former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar as exempted from Income Tax under section 80RR of Income Tax which enables sportspersons, artists or authors etc as deduction a certain portion of the foreign remittances received by them in the “exercise of their profession”.

Here also Income Tax Department rightly held the claimed exemption invalid because the claiming person was no longer a sportsperson. It is a matter of satisfaction that the said exemption under section 80RR has since been abolished from 01.04.20014. Similar was a case earlier where another prominent former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar once claimed himself to be an actor rather than a sportsperson just to get tax-exemption! Unfortunately such super-rich persons try to save taxes which are simply ‘paltry’ amounts for them just because of undesired and mindless tax-exemptions granted by Income Tax Department.

Income Tax Department should now abolish grossly misused tax-exemptions under sections 80G, 80GGB and 80GGC relating to donations for social cause and contributions received-by/made-to political parties. It is significant that political parties are not complying with full-bench CIC-verdict dated 03.06.2013 where contributions made-to/received-by political parties was taken as indirect funding by government.

About 2000 political parties are registered to claim such undesired exemption evidently to convert unaccounted income as accounted one! After all extra revenue so earned by abolishing such exemptions will be for national development and public-welfare which is in no way less than ‘donation and public-service’ alleged to be done by those getting such exemptions!



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