Income tax officials ‘visit’ Chinese computer-maker Lenovo’s office in India for ‘search op’

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New Delhi: Income tax officials Wednesday visited Chinese computer-maker Lenovo’s Indian offices, ThePrint has learnt. The “visit” comes after the central government, in July, named Lenovo as one of the Chinese tech firms accused of evading the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and customs duties. 

In a statement to ThePrint Wednesday, the company confirmed that income tax officials had visited its premises but did not give any more details.

“As responsible corporate citizens, we adhere strictly to all applicable laws, regulations, and reporting requirements in every jurisdiction in which we do business,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We are cooperating with the authorities and will provide all possible support required.”

The income tax department has yet to issue an official statement. But two officials confirmed the visit, with one of them saying these were “searches” not raids. 

“Yes, we can confirm that a search operation has been conducted on the premises of Lenovo in Bengaluru,” the official told ThePrint. “These operations are colloquially called raids, but they are in fact just search operations.” 

According to a Lenovo employee, searches were conducted only at the Bengaluru office. But a report by Reuters said they were conducted at the company’s factory in Puducherry as well. ThePrint could not independently confirm this. 

Although it wasn’t immediately clear why these searches were conducted, Lenovo is one of several Chinese tech companies that the central government has accused of evading tax.

In a statement before the Rajya Sabha this monsoon session, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the companies were being investigated for evading GST to the tune of Rs 1,108.98 crore and customs duties totalling Rs 7,966.09 crore between 2017-18 and 2023-24. 

For Lenovo, the evasion was pegged at Rs 42.36 crore. Chandrasekhar also said that the authorities had already begun issuing showcause notices to companies. 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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