I-T Department Issues Notices to Social Media Influencers

The IT department has issued notices to 15 social media influencers regarding reduced payments.

After posting their travels to foreign destinations and luxury shopping on social media platforms, these influential individuals came under the radar of the IT department.

According to a report by The Economic Times (ET), the Income Tax (IT) department has sent notices to 15 social media influencers for making minimal or no payments despite receiving hefty fees from the companies whose products they endorsed through their posts.

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These social media influencers, who showcased their travel to foreign destinations and luxury shopping on social media platforms, have now caught the attention of the IT department.

The list includes a high-profile fashion influencer, a lifestyle and fitness coach, a travel influencer, and a Bollywood personality known for their posts.

An official stated that three of these individuals have not filed any returns, while the others have declared lower incomes.

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The official mentioned that 30 other influential individuals are under investigation.

The official stated that a fashion influencer based in Mumbai was earning between INR 50,000 and INR 1 lakh for a single post on Instagram endorsing luxury makeup brands.

The official said, “After receiving over INR 30 lakh from a single company for various positions, the influential individual declared an annual income of only INR 3.5 lakh.”

Last week, IT officials conducted searches on 10 YouTubers in Kerala.

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As per ET’s report, the influencer marketing report of 2022 stated that the social media influencer market was worth INR 900 crore in 2021 and is estimated to reach INR 2,200 crore by 2025.

Influential individuals earning more than INR 20 lakh in a financial year are required to register their services under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law because such services are categorized as online information and database access or retrieval services (OIDAR). Services under GST are subject to an 18% tax.

According to ET’s report, from July 1, 2022, as per section 194Q of the Income Tax Act, a 10% tax deduction at source (TDS) should be made on free gifts and allowances received for promotions exceeding INR 20,000 for promotions.

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