Kolkata: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, who was summoned for an alleged case of non-payment of Service Tax, has denied any tax evasion. Mirza’s Chartered Accountant appeared on her behalf before the Service Tax authorities, as she has gone abroad for a tournament. According to sources, one of the key documents was the recent Government Order (GO) declaring that she had been given Rs 1 crore for being the ‘Brand Ambassador’ of Telangana as a ‘cash incentive for training.’
“Sania’s representative submitted certain documents before the Service Tax authorities and contended that the Rs 1 crore she received from the Telangana government was a training incentive and the amount was not for becoming the state’s brand ambassador,” said official sources.
Back in the year 2014, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao had anointed Mirza as the Brand Ambassador of the state and handed over to her a cheque for Rs 1 crore. In September of that year, she was given Rs 1 crore for winning the US Open mixed doubles title. The award was declared as non-taxable. But tax officials said that the tennis ace had to pay a hefty sum of Rs 20 lakh, including 15% service tax, fine and penalty for the remuneration as a Brand Ambassador. Meanwhile Mirza came down heavily on sections of the media for choosing to focus on her tax evasion story rather than concentrating on her entry into the women’s doubles semi-finals of the ongoing Qatar Open.
She used Twitter to send out her message. “Standing ovation to our amazing certain sections of media who haven’t bothered to write or report about me being in another semi finals of a tournament in Qatar, but heyyy there are 100 articles about ‘tax evasion’ which most of them don’t even understand properly,” Sania tweeted on Friday. “As to what’s going on I think is pretty clear negative news sells a lot more than positive news or achievements I guess!!” she added.
According to sources, the authorities are studying the documents before initiating any further course of action.
(With inputs from PTI and News18)