13 builders in the net over unpaid VAT
Not paying Value Added Tax (VAT) proved costly for 13 city-based builders as the investigation cell of the sales tax department carried out survey operations against them, including offices of former Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) presidents, like heads of Acme Builders, Ajmera Group etc.
The operations started from Monday morning, and according to officers from the sales tax department, they would go on for one or two more days. The builders have allegedly not deposited the money collected by them from flat purchasers in the form of VAT — which is 1 per cent of the total sale agreement — in the government treasury.
Sanjay Bhatia, commissioner of sales tax department, said, “Yes we are carrying out survey operations at the city’s top builders’ offices for their tax liabilities. They are supposed to pay money to the government for the VAT collected by them.” A senior officer from the department confirmed the names of a few builders, which are Ajmera, Acme, Sumer, Dosti, Ekta, Evershine, Bhumi, Keystone and RNA.
According to a sales tax official, the builders owe the taxes since April 1, 2010. “The total amount due is nearly Rs 20-25 crore. We are going to conduct more such operations across the city. With these raids, other developers, who are in hiding would also come out and deposit what they owe the treasury,” added the officer.
Paras Gundecha, president, MCHI, confirmed that a few developers’ offices have been surveyed. “These are not raids; the sales tax officers have conducted survey operations across the city against builders on the issue of VAT. We oppose the levying of VAT on under-construction flats and have gone to court on the matter. We have lost the battle in the HC and have now moved the SC. We expect to emerge victorious in the future,” he said.