Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 100 tax defaulters

Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 5 AUG: The country's largest state-owned bank State Bank of India (SBI), automobile giant Tata Motors and oil major Indian Oil Corporation, besides Sahara India and its promoter Mr Subroto Roy figure in the list of top 100 tax defaulters in the country.

Disclosing the list of defaulters in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the minister of state for finance, Mr SS Palanimanickam said in a written reply that the top 100 tax defaulters owe to the exchequer Rs 1.41 lakh crore ~ more than three times the amount the government spends on National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme annually to provide employment to Below Poverty Line families.

The Centre is taking various steps to recover the outstanding dues, the minister said, adding that the government has requested the adjudicating authorities such as ITAT and Settlement Commission "to dispose of high demand cases expeditiously."

As per the list, disgraced stud farm owner Mr Hassan Ali Khan tops the list of tax defaulters with an outstanding arrears of more than Rs 50,000 crore. The list of tax defaulters also includes stock broker late Harshad Mehta and his associates and other brokers such as Mr AD Narrotam and Mr Hiten Dalal.

While the SBI owes Rs 333.6 crore in taxes, Tata Motors and Indian Oil Corporation have to pay Rs 206.5 crore and Rs 210.3 crore to the treasury, respectively. As regards Sahara, many of its group companies figure in the list of defaulters, while its promoter Mr Roy owes Rs 230 crore to the exchequer.

Among leading public sector undertakings, BSNL has a tax due of about Rs 2,417 crore, while NTPC faces a demand for Rs 622 crore. VSNL Ltd (now Tata Communications Ltd) has a tax due of about Rs 505.5 crore.

Among Sahara group companies, Sahara India and Sahara Airlines (now Jetlite) figure among the tax defaulters apart from Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd.

Besides, corporates which owe taxes to the government are Coca Cola India (Rs 600 crore), Baron International (Rs 589 crore), Oracle Corporation (Rs 558 crore), Rolex Holding Ltd (Rs 558 crore), Aaditya Luxury Hotels (Rs 564 crore) and Reliance Energy (Rs 176 crore). Nokia, Daewoo Motors, Bunge India Ltd, Tata Industries, Satyam Computers and IBM Pvt Ltd are other companies which have been named on the list.

The minister said that these tax demands also include those which are difficult to recover for various reasons such as demands notified under Special Court, inadequate assets and companies under litigation.

However, the special measures being adopted by the government to expedite recovery of tax default include monitoring of the recovery of amount in large cases by a Task Force. "Invariably arrears demand above Rs 25 crore is monitored by CBDT and between Rs 10 crore and Rs 25 crore by CCIT/DIT (Recovery)," the minister said.

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