'Wipro faces seizure of movable assets for not paying taxes'
Bengaluru: India's third largest IT firm Wipro has been threatened with legal action by authorities for allegedly not paying Rs 16.47 crore property tax as sought by the Bangalore municipal corporation.
Wipro said it is "exploring all legal options at its disposal to seek redressal" against any such move by the authorities concerned.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) alleged that Wipro had not paid taxes despite repeated notices and has now slapped a final notice for payment, failing which the company faces legal action including seizure of movable property.
"They still owe us Rs 16.47 crore in tax and dues, but despite sending them repeated notices, Wipro officials are not paying the amount. We have sent them the third and final notice, but still they are trying to buy time," BBMP Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance Chairman M S Shivaprasad said.
The corporation, he said, can confiscate the movable properties of tax defaulters if they fail to pay even after being served with three notices.
Wipro termed the notice as "intimidatory tactics to collect money against unsubstantiated notice of payment" and said it was exploring all legal options to seek redressal.
"On November 27, officials and corporators of BBMP arrived at Wipro's Sarjapur campus without prior notice and resorted to highhandedness and arm twisting tactics for nearly seven hours.
"It was an illegal attempt to collect money against a notice for collection of property tax, which is not final and has been responded to by pointing out errors in data points and assumptions," the company said.
These notices have been superseded with multiple fresh notices by BBMP itself and the latest one is yet to be adjudicated, it added.
"It is appalling and unfortunate that responsible leaders of the civic body would choose to deal with a responsible corporate citizen in this manner without being mindful of the process of 'Natural Justice'," the firm said.
Wipro claimed the tax dues issue was under review with higher BBMP officials, ignoring which the municipal corporation resorted to these tactics.
However, Shivaprasad said: "The corporation is authorised to confiscate the movable properties of tax defaulters if they fail to pay even after being served with three notices."
In January, after BBMP sent a team of drummers hired by the corporation, the company official paid Rs 5 crore, but since then there is a stalemate, Shivaprasad said.
He added: "We will be meeting our council tomorrow and there we will discuss this issue. We plan to issue a distraint notice against Wipro, which will also be discussed tomorrow."
He further said that BBMP will wait for another week and see if Wipro agrees to pay the tax dues but if there is no response, then the civic body will issue the distraint notice, which authorises the officials to seize movable assets of the firm like computers and furniture.
Wipro said: "We urge BBMP to follow the due process of adjudication as prescribed in the relevant statute, give Wipro an opportunity to be heard and reach a considered conclusion based on current law and thereby ensure adherence to the principles of 'Natural Justice'."