Customs house agents in income tax net
The tax deducted at source (TDS) wing of the income tax (I-T) department conducted surveys on 10 customs house agents in Mumbai and detected evasion amounting to more than Rs30 crore.
A customs house agent or CHA is a person or firm that provides professional services to importers and exporters to complete various formalities with the port trust and Customs department.
The surveys began on Friday and were completed on Tuesday when the I-T authorities detected the evasion, sources said.
AC Shukla, commissioner of income tax (TDS), refused to comment saying he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Another officer, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak about the surveys, said that the surveys were conducted at 10 offices of CHAs. Income tax authorities found that most of these companies were not deducting tax at source while making payments to port trust and other government bodies on behalf of their clients. Some of them were deducting tax at source but at a much lower rate.
The payments made by CHAs on behalf of their clients include, freight charges, warehouse charges, survey charges, transportation costs and air freight charges. “While most of them were not deducting TDS, some of them were deducting it only at the rate of 2% instead of the mandatory 10%,” the officer said.
He said that these payments come under the category of technical fees, rent and contractual payments for which 10% TDS needs to be deducted.