Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: In a significant move against tax evasion, the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) has recently questioned executives from over 10 notable foreign airlines, including industry giants like British Airways, Etihad, Thai Airways, and Qatar Airways. This inquiry revolves around allegations of evading taxes amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees related to their operations in India.
The DGGI’s probe focuses on expenditures booked with the airlines’ overseas head offices, which encompass aircraft leasing, crew, fuel, and maintenance costs. Indian authorities are now mandating that these international airlines disclose all operational expenses incurred within India and comply with the new GST regime, which could mean a tax liability reaching millions of dollars.
The tax department, as guided by a parliamentary finance committee, has been advised to exercise due diligence and caution in such search and seizure operations to avoid undue harassment of honest taxpayers.
The committee emphasised protecting honest taxpayers while ensuring that chronic evaders are brought to justice.
The income tax department has responded, stating that any search and seizure actions are initiated only after a preliminary investigation and collecting credible evidence of tax evasion.
This development marks the first time India has demanded complete transparency from foreign carriers regarding their expenditure in the country, setting a precedent for tax compliance and reinforcing the government’s stance against tax evasion. The move is part of a broader effort to ensure fair taxation and bolster confidence in India’s fiscal governance among international business entities.