The income-tax (I-T) authorities are waiting for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to file its returns for fiscal year 2009 to ascertain if the cricket board should be taxed, particularly for the income earned from the mega cricket events such as Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament.

With an annual income of over Rs1,000 crore in 2007-08, BCCI is the world’s richest cricket body. But it had so far been exempted from income-tax as it was considered a “public utility” engaged in promotion of sports. This exemption may, however, be reviewed with an amendment made in the Finance Act 2008-09.

“The (I-T) department will not give the advantage of `public utility’ if a body engages in commercial activities,” an official said, adding cricket, especially the IPL brand, has become commercial. The official requested anonymity.

Under the new dispensation, the exemption can be withdrawn even if the entire income was spent by BCCI into building stadia and opening cricket academies, he clarified. But the assessment of BCCI’s tax liability, if any, could take at least a year from the date of filing of return.

“We will try to complete the assessment of BCCI’s returns by December 2010 on a fast track,” a tax official said on condition of anonymity.

IPL, which has been described by home minister P. Chidambaram as a “shrewd combination” of business and sports, is not registered as a separate entity and its income will be reflected in BCCI’s tax returns, due before September this year, the tax official said.

IPL, which is hosting its second season in South Africa from 18 April, has renegotiated the 10-year broadcasting rights for the matches for at least Rs8,000 crore.

Income-tax officials fear they may lose tax deducted at source (TDS) on payments to players’ by IPL franchisees and corporate firms for endorsements in the upcoming season as the law on TDS leaves a grey area if an event is held outside the country. The exchequer collected Rs91 crore TDS during the first season of IPL last year.

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