In what may strain the already troubled relations between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, the Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging a seven-month-old order of the Bombay high court, which gave relief to superstar Amitabh Bachchan in a case related to Kaun Banega Crorepati.

The move to appeal against the old order, given the closeness of the Bachchan family to SP leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, may have its political fallout.

The I-T department assailed the HC order saying Bachchan could not have claimed benefit under Section 80RR of the Income Tax Act which provides 30% tax relief on income of artistes from outside India.

Bachchan had contended that as per Section 80RR, 30% of the earnings that accrued to him were not taxable since he was an artist and the remaining 70%, which went to the account of Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL), could be taxed.

However, the I-T department was of the view that Bachchan was an anchor and not an artist in the popular television show. Moreover, the income to be categorised under Section 80RR must have either come from abroad or the artist must have performed outside India.

According to the I-T department, the entire show was shot in a Mumbai studio provided by Star India Pvt Ltd and, hence, no tax relief should be granted. The dispute over taxation is on a total earning of Rs 13 crore which Bachchan earned from the mega show.

Bachchan’s spouse, Jaya, is a SP member of Rajya Sabha. SP leaders have in the past linked the actor’s troubles with the taxman to their opposition to Congress.

In the earlier round of litigation, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had asked the department to reconsider the assessment. Later, the Bombay high court upheld Bachchan’s contention and dismissed the IT department’s plea.

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