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Bodh Gaya temple gets IT notice

Patna: The Income Tax Department has issued notice to Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, for not filing annual return of its income of over Rs.100 crore through donations, an official said Saturday.

Deputy Commissioner of IT department Saurav Roy said notice was issued to the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BMTC) for not filing returns.

The BMTC member secretary N. Dorjee said the notice had been received, adding: "It is true that the temple committee has not filed its annual return."

He cited the delay on the part of IT department to issue a PAN card to the temple committee. "In the absence of the PAN card, how can the temple committee will file its return," Dorjee asked.

An IT official in Patna told IANS on the condition of anonymity that temple committee has never filed return of its income and expenditure till date.

"Every one, including religious and non religious institutions, which have sources of income are required to file the IT returns annually as per the law," he said.

Dorjee said the temple committee would start filing returns soon after it gets the PAN number.

Last year too, the IT department served notice to the temple committee for not filing of returns.

The 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple is a World Heritage Site, where the Buddha, who was born at Lumbini in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago.

The Bodh Gaya temple is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world, especially from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the southeast Asian region.

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