British broadcaster BBC has communicated to the income-tax department that some of its past income, for its operations in India, could have gone unreported during the statutory filing of returns and hence it would like to amend it, news agency PTI's official sources said on Wednesday.
The development comes in the backdrop of the tax department conducting a three-day long survey in February at the offices of the organisation in Delhi as part of an alleged tax evasion investigation against them. I-T sources, however, said that the purported BBC communication has "no legal value" till it pays the due taxes. They also refused to quantify the possible amount of tax evaded or avoided by the company, saying their investigation was still on.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the administrative authority of the tax department, said they do not comment on individual cases. The company responded to PTI's queries in this context saying it continues to cooperate with the tax authorities.
“The BBC is cooperating fully with the Indian tax authorities' enquiries and will continue to do so. The process is ongoing and will take time to conclude. The BBC of course takes its tax obligations very seriously," a BBC spokesperson said.
Tax has not been paid on certain remittances by its foreign entities
The CBDT, soon after the survey operation, issued a statement without naming the organisation in which it stated that the income and profits shown by various BBC group entities were "not commensurate" with the scale of their operations in India and tax has not been paid on certain remittances by its foreign entities.
The CBDT said the survey found that "despite substantial consumption of content in various Indian languages (apart from English), the income/profits shown by various group entities (of BBC) is not commensurate with the scale of operations in India." "The department gathered several evidence pertaining to the operation of the organisation which indicate that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group," the CBDT had said.
The news organisation is also facing a probe by another federal agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), for alleged foreign exchange violations. The ED probe is being carried out under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).