The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has indicated its willingness to pay taxes to the Income Tax Department after the alleged underreporting of income in India in recent years, according to government officials.
The letter of intent sent by the BBC will only be significant if the tax payment is made and the assessment process reaches its final stage, officials added.
After conducting surveys in February, tax authorities found discrepancies in transfer pricing documentation at the British broadcaster's offices in Delhi and Mumbai.
A BBC spokesperson told the Indian Express that the broadcaster is "cooperating fully with the Indian tax authorities’ enquiries and will continue to do so."
Adding that the process "will take time to conclude," the BBC said it "of course takes its tax obligations very seriously."
The Income Tax Department revealed in February that crucial evidence had been found during surveys. The evidence was obtained from employee statements, digital evidence, and documents, but the BBC was not mentioned in the statement. It was said that further examination of the evidence would be done at a later date.
“The survey revealed that despite substantial consumption of content in various Indian languages (apart from English), the income/ profits shown by various group entities is not commensurate with the scale of operations in India,” it said.
“During the survey, the department gathered several evidences pertaining to the operation of the organisation which indicate that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group," it said.
The Tax Department's action against the British broadcaster came weeks after they aired a documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots, on 17 January.
Three days after the documentary's release, the central government ordered social media platforms YouTube and Twitter to remove links to the film to prevent it from undermining the integrity of India, adversely impacting foreign relations, and disrupting public order.
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