The Indian units of software majors International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and SAP are among nine companies, which have been booked for tax evasion to the tune of Rs300 crore by the revenue department, minister of state for finance S.S. Palanimanickam said in Parliament .
Banking-to-aviation Sahara Group and state-run airline Indian have also been charged by the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI).
IBM India has been charged with service evasion of Rs72.25 crore, while SAP India is accountable for Rs38.43 crore. Sahara India and Sahara Airlines, both part of the Sahara Group, owe the government Rs89.07 crore and Rs10 crore, respectively, as service tax, the minister told the Rajya Sabha.
According to sources in the finance ministry, Sahara India was collecting public deposits on behalf of another group company Sahara Financial Services.
An IBM spokesperson denied receiving any order regarding service tax evasion from the DGCEI. However, the company said it had received a show cause notice from the directorate, to which it had duly responded. “The matter pertains to information technology services provided by us to our clients, which we believe were clearly outside the purview of the service-tax net during the period under consideration,” the spokesperson said in an email.
SAP India too confirmed that it had received a show-cause notice from DGCEI with regard to service-tax matters. “We are in receipt of a show-cause notice from DGCEI on service tax matters and we are working with the authorities to appropriately address the queries,’’ Nagaraj Bhargava, vice-president of sales, marketing and business operations, SAP India, told Mint.
Seven non-banking finance companies including India Bulls have also been booked for evasion, and the government is in process to recover the amount where investigations are complete, minister Palanimanickam said.
(Regina Anthony contributed to this story.)