Businesses Find ‘Green Way’ To Save Taxes

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Bangalore: Spend huge sums on planting saplings under Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.

Corporate houses, including Information Technology (IT) majors, have found a ‘green way’ to save on taxes. As the financial year draws to a close, they are paying huge sums of money under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative on planting saplings, making the City and the outskirts greener.

envIncome Tax officials say that such charitable activities usually increase towards the end of the financial year and are nothing new.

But the areas of investment keep changing. This time, the CSR funds are being spent on the greening of Bangalore.

Saplings are being planted on the roadside, on median strips on MG Road, Kamaraj Road and under the flyover on K H Road (Double Road).

While the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has received CSR funds for planting saplings on the roadside, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has received requests for information but no funds.

The BDA is getting inquiries about its new residential layouts. In contrast, the BBMP has been promised CSR funds by many companies for greening in its forthcoming projects.

Many companies have also approached the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Anekal, abutting the Bannerghatta National Park. An assistant at the ashram said: “At least eight firms have approached us since January. Last year, there were just three. These companies spend about Rs 500 on each sapling for three years.”

“The work includes getting the sapling from the Western Ghats and places such as Kumta, Mangalore and Honnavar. Then pits have to be dug, saplings planted, manure applied and plants maintained,” the assistant added.

Each company plants anywhere between 25 and 1,500 saplings, the assistant added.
The companies often do not even come back to check the condition of the plants as they see it as a one-time activity. The ashram inmates and volunteers visiting the campus water the plants.

Spread across 220 acres of land, including the 150 acres donated by devotees, locals and volunteers, the ashram is home to over 5,000 species of native and endemic plants.

K Satyanarayana, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Bangalore and Kerala), says companies change methods to save on tax.

“As per the Income Tax Act, people can save on taxes by doing charity,” he explained to Deccan Herald.

“Many companies donate for animal welfare or spend on greenery. Some of them do it earnestly, others just to evade taxes. This is common, especially during the end of financial year, only the methods are new.”

[Deccan Herald]

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