In a recent and rigorous crackdown on tax evasion, the Karnataka Commercial Taxes Department has shed light on alleged Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion practices employed by biryani shop owners in the scenic town of Hoskote, situated within the Bengaluru rural district.
Hoskote, a charming locale just 30 kilometers away from Bengaluru’s bustling Central Business District, is renowned for its late-night and early-morning drives, making it a magnet for biryani aficionados.
Commissioner of Commercial Taxes for Karnataka, C Shikha, revealed that a vigilant 50-member team embarked on an extensive search operation in Hoskote, exposing the intricate modus operandi used by these biryani vendors.
“One astonishing discovery was a biryani shop owner who possessed a staggering 30 UPI (Unified Payments Interface) QR codes. During our operation, we also stumbled upon a colossal sum of Rs 1.47 crore in cash at his residence. We promptly alerted Income Tax Officials, who have since initiated legal proceedings,” shared Shikha.
Shikha further elaborated that several shop owners were found accepting payments through multiple UPI accounts, alongside cash transactions, and frequently switching between different UPI accounts.
“This crafty maneuver was specifically designed to obscure their actual GST turnovers and evade tax obligations. These restaurateurs refrained from issuing tax invoices and bills of sale for their food items, failing to maintain proper accounting records. Our department remains committed to analyzing and taking action against various tactics employed by tax evaders,” she stressed.
Addressing the question of the legality of keeping substantial amounts of cash at home, a senior official clarified, “The Income Tax Act in India does not specify a particular limit on the amount of cash an individual can hold at home. However, the act does mandate that individuals provide a plausible explanation for the source of significant cash deposits or holdings if questioned by tax authorities. It is imperative to ensure that any cash holdings are meticulously accounted for and can be substantiated during scrutiny.”
Regarding the issue of multiple UPI transactions, the official remarked, “There have been instances of suspicious transactions involving tax evasion through deposits into various accounts without proper record-keeping, raising concerns over accountability.”