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200 taxmen, 28 locations: I-T raids 5 realtors, finds 'Rs 400cr tax evasion'

Gurgaon, Sep 20, 2023

Two hundred I-T officials raiding 28 locations for the past five days have detected alleged tax evasion of Rs 400 crore by five real estate developers, some of whom own hotel chains and schools in the city.

The raids began at 5am on September 14, and are ongoing, sources in the income-tax department said on Tuesday.

Apart from documents tracing unpaid taxes, the taxmen seized Rs 4 crore in cash and jewellery worth Rs 10 crore, the source said.

The raids -- involving I-T officials from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panipat, Karnal, Delhi, Chandigarh, and Srinagar -- are being carried out at the houses, offices and other establishments owned by the developers.

"We were expecting tax evasion of Rs 100-150 crore. This is a lot more. Related documents have been seized by the department," a senior I-T official told TOI.

The developers under investigation were allegedly marking large transactions on informal receipts, instead of bills, which aren't recorded in accounting logs.

One developer that runs a school chain, an I-T source said, had forged signatures of students' parents to show transactions as donations to evade taxes.

The real estate sector came under scrutiny after the I-T department noticed that total taxes they were collecting from firms in the industry were lower than what they should be, especially in Gurgaon, where construction is a major business.

TOI had reported earlier this April that Gurgaon was the 9th largest contributor of income tax among Indian cities. The city of 4.5 lakh taxpayers paid a total of Rs 40,000 crore in 2022-23, one-fourth of which was from the IT industry.

Real estate and construction, which is a booming sector in NCR, made up for just 8% of the taxes last fiscal year, data by the I-T department showed.

After the raid, officials said, the department will scan all seized documents to conclude their investigation, and if found guilty, it will impose penalties for tax evasion. I-T teams are being provided security by police and 150 CRPF personnel to ensure the raids aren't interrupted.

[The Times of India]

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