Indore temple to pay Rs 2 crore tax penalty for depositing banned notes

The Income Tax department has issued a notice of Rs 2 crores to the management committee of the 132-year-old Lord Hanuman Temple in Indore for depositing Rs 26 lakh in demonetized currency after the ban in 2016, an official from the IT department said.

The IT department imposed a 77% tax penalty on the total amount deposited by the temple administration after demonetization in November and December 2016. It asked the temple management to deposit Rs 2 crores with the department, said an IT officer, who did not want to be named.

“Since most of the temples, religious trusts and institutions received donations in bulk during demonetization; the IT department scrutinized all such transactions. The deposit of Rs 26 lakh came to light in a scrutiny of transaction that took place in the bank account of the temple which is controlled by the government but not registered under the Income Tax Act 1961, which exempts religious trusts from the tax,” said the officer.

The notice was first served in November 2017 but the temple administration did not reply. The IT department sought a reply from the temple administration till December 13.

Temple manager Deepesh Vyas said, “As the temple was constructed on government land and is under government control, we never paid any taxes. We didn’t find the donation of Rs 26 lakh in two months because the temple received an average donation of about Rs 7-8 lakh every month.”

“When the first notice was served in 2017, we did not reply. Now, we have informed Rau sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), who is the head of the temple administration,” Vyas said.

Rau SDM Ravi Kumar Singh said, “I have received information about the notice recently. I will reply accordingly.”

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