I-T department asks top corporates, HNIs to settle tax disputes

MUMBAI: After nudging the central and state public sector units (PSUs) to avail of the Vivad se Vishwas dispute resolution scheme, the income-tax department is reaching out to India’s top corporate houses and high net-worth individuals so that pending cases before various platforms could be settled quickly.

In Mumbai alone, the megacity that makes up 37% of India’s direct-tax collections, about 64,400 cases are being pursued. The cumulative tax demand in these cases is Rs 4.43 lakh crore, official sources told ET. The government aims to mop up around Rs 9.32 lakh crore from across the country by resolving disputes of the said amount through the scheme and meet its shortfall in direct-tax collections.

India’s biggest corporate houses, such as Reliance Industries (RIL), the Tata group of companies, the Tata Trusts, Vodafone Idea, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Aditya Birla group, and Bharti Airtel, have been approached by the tax authorities to use the mechanism. The department has also sent emails and held meetings with big audit and law firms, including Deloitte India, KPMG and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM), official sources said.

Tata Trusts refused to comment, while mails sent to RIL and Tata Sons, the holding company for the Tata Group, remained unanswered until publication of this report.

In case of the Tata Group, the cumulative tax demand from various group companies and trusts stands at more than Rs 24,500 crore, officials said. The income tax department has calculated the tax demand of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at Rs 9,011.64 crore for tax disputes between 2002 and 2017, around Rs 3,005 crore is for the cases before ITAT between 2003 and 2015 of TCS and TCS E-Serve, and Rs 340 crore for cases pending before the high court.

The department has pegged the demand at the Jamsetji Trust at Rs 682.35 crore for the period between 2010 and 2020, and another Rs 74 crore for a case pending before the high court, where the department has appealed. At Navajbai Tata Trust, the disputed demand is of Rs 220.90 crore; for RD Tata Trust, it’s calculated at Rs 18.30 crore. Last year the IT department had cancelled the licences of six Tata Trusts.

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