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Taxing times for Sachin, Gavaskar


Meetu Jain,CNN-IBN
Jun 20, 2007 at 01:10pm IST

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General blames the Income Tax department for taxing Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar less and incorrectly.

Going by an advertisement, Sachin Tendulkar brushes his teeth regularly. Now if only he would be as regular with his taxes. The Comptroller and Auditor General has said that Tendulkar got a tax exemption of Rs 3.5 crore for income earned from advertisements, but income which he passed off as having being earned from cricket.

Sportsmen are allowed tax exemption under section 80 RR of the Income Tax Act. Tendulkar had asked for an exemption for Rs 8.89 crore and now his tax returns for 2000-2005 is being reassessed.

The tax man defended the act saying Tendulkar had earned this money as an artist, another category that's allowed exemption.

"Some cricketers have taken the benefit of exemption for some incomes, saying that it is the capacity as a sportsman. But we are saying that portion of their income was received in the capacity as endorsing products, either as models or so on. So there shouldn't be an exemption for that," Sudha Krishnan, Principal Director, Audit says.

It's not just Tendulkar. Former India captain-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar managed to get a tax exemption as well of over Rs 80 lakh. What's more, the richest sporting body in the country, the BCCI, has been passing itself off as a charitable organisation; which means they don't have to pay taxes.

Cricketers are considered demi-gods by the youth in India, but when it comes to paying their taxes, these Gods have feet of clay. But after the audit scrutiny, cricketers would do well to remember that they need to be role models not just in the field of sports but while paying their taxes as well.

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