BCCI must pay Rs 684 cr tax

NEW DELHI: In the middle of income-tax investigations into the IPL and its franchises, the revenue department has raised a tax demand of Rs 684 crore against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Sources said the tax department has asked BCCI to pay Rs 118 crore for assessment year 2007-08, Rs 421 crore for 2008-09 and Rs 145 crore for 2009-10. The demands were raised after the department had withdrawn tax exemption to the cricket body stating that it ‘‘no longer promoted cricket as a charitable activity’’.

When BCCI refused to pay tax as demanded, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) instructed its field formation to adjust tax dues against the refund claims made by the cricket body. As a follow-up action, I-T authorities this year adjusted Rs 92 crore from the BCCI’s previous years’ refunds. On the issue of withdrawal of tax exemption, through a clarification issued earlier this year, the CBDT had said that it had disallowed exemption as it found that the BCCI was primarily engaged in commercial activities.

In 2007-08, the year from which CBDT had cancelled BCCI’s tax exemption, the apex cricket organisation is believed to have generated an income of over Rs 1,000 crore that included media rights of over Rs 550 crore, surplus from tours, interest on bank deposits of over Rs 1,100 crore and income from other sources. Prior to that, it never had an income of that level.

In order to bring sporting bodies such as BCCI under the tax net, the I-T department had last year issued a notification stating that ‘‘all sportspersons, Indian or foreign, besides coaches, trainers, umpires, referees, team physicians, physiotherapists, event managers, commentators, anchors and columnists must be levied TDS at 10%’’.

Not convinced, BCCI had moved an appeal against the order before a tax tribunal stating that it was still engaged in activities not meant for profiteering. The CBDT, however, had a contrary viewpoint. It held that the main income of the cricket body came from the ‘‘business of cricket’’ and ‘‘not from the game of cricket’’. The rejection of tax exemption was based on the fact that BCCI’s IPL venture was purely business oriented. Though the department has completed BCCI’s assessment for 2007-08, the same is still pending for 2008-09 and 2009-10. BCCI had claimed exemption for all three years.

We would like to hear your comments below: