Hundreds Of Street Vendors In India Discovered To Be Secret Millionaires
The Income Tax (IT) department in India has uncovered hundreds of secret millionaires in the northern city of Kanpur.
Spotting secret millionaires is usually quite easy, as they are followed by film crews and ask employees personal questions. However, more than 250 street food vendors and scrap dealers have been found to be millionaires who had saved 37.5 million Indian rupees, which is the equivalent of $503,947, on average.
This money was used to buy properties, cars and agricultural land. However, the IT department uncovered the secret millions when it conducted an investigation using big data software.
Using the software, the department found that the millionaires had not paid more than the Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration, which is a tax used in India for the supply of goods and services. On top of this, at least 65 grocery store owners and pharmacists had not registered their businesses on the GST records.
To successfully hide their fortunes, the business owners had invested in property through different family members and used cooperative banks and small finance schemes to help cover their income.
The millionaires were found and identified after a seller gave details from their PAN card, an identification number assigned to all taxpayers in India. This led to the wider investigation that found more than 250 millionaires.
Interestingly, similar incidents have happened in the past. Vice News has reported that in 2016, street food sellers in Kanpur were caught with an undeclared income of 600 million Indian rupees ($8 million).
Despite the presence of secret millionaires, many have stressed the difficulties vendors have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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