I-T Department Goes After APBCL, Freezes Bank Accounts
By Vikram Sharma | ENS | Published: 01st February 2014 07:49 AM |
It’s a ‘hangover’ the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (APBCL) and the State Government will take time to recover from. The APBCL, which has been evading tax, received a rude shock Friday when the taxman attached its bank accounts.
With the Income Tax Tribunal disposing of a case between the two last week, the tax dues APBCL will have to shell out for the nine years under litigation is a whopping Rs 8000 crore! Sources told Express a team from the I-T Department (Range- I), led by senior IRS officer Dr BV Prasad Reddy, paid a surprise visit to various banks in the city, including branches of the SBH and Axis Bank, and froze its accounts.
The APBCL, which has the sole marketing rights to sell liquor in the State, has been diverting sale proceeds to the coffers of the State government without paying taxes. When the I-T Department served notices, it claimed it’s an organ of the State government and not liable to pay tax. However, the department’s view is that APBCL is not independent like the State Government and thus, liable to pay tax.
The APBCL had lost its case in appeals and eventually, the Excise Act was amended with retrospective effect to help it avoid tax. However, it had to cough up Rs 240 crore during 2012-2013 to the I-T Department after the High court refused to issue stay orders. The Income Tax Tribunal last week disposed of the APBCL case directing it to pay the tax in toto. The tax liability is more than Rs 1600 crore (for three years). The total liability for years under litigation is around Rs 8,000 crore.