Amitabh Bachchan NFTs: Bollywood Star Settles Big Tax Bill as Indian Officials Investigate
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Amitabh Bachchan NFTs: Bollywood Star Settles Big Tax Bill as Indian Officials Investigate

6 months ago

The 79-year-old was the first Indian actor to embrace NFTs and his collection broke sales records, but he has come under scrutiny from tax officials.

Amitabh Bachchan NFTs: Bollywood Star Settles Big Tax Bill as Indian Officials Investigate

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Bollywood giant Amitabh Bachchan has paid over 1 crore ($131,000) in taxes as part of an investigation into his NFT sales.

The 79-year-old — a legend of Indian television and cinema — has faced scrutiny from tax officials since a big-money auction last year.

Back in November 2021, Bachchan's NFT collection generated more than 7 crore ($917,000) in revenue.

His bill is linked to the fact that an 18% Integrated Goods and Services Tax is slapped on the sale of non-fungible tokens.

Bachchan settled the bill after a notice by the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence, but an investigation continues.

The star's range of NFTs included the actor reciting Madhushala, a famous series of poems that were written by his father.

Digital posters and images were also offered to fans through the auction on BeyondLife.club.

Bachchan was the first Indian actor to embrace digital assets — and his sale reportedly smashed records for India's highest-ever NFT sale.

He said the sale was a "proud moment" that paves the way for fellow stars to engage with their fans in new ways, adding:

"In this world of digitization, NFTs have opened a new realm of opportunities to engage with my fans even more than before. The successful auction of my NFTs, some of the most treasured and personal moments of my life and career were so well received and invested in by my supporters."

Several celebrities have indeed followed suit — including Bollywood actor Salman Khan and star cricketer Zaheer Khan.

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India Gets Taxing

The number of investigations into investors who trade or own cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens is rising in India.

It comes after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman set out proposals for the taxation of digital assets in parliament.

Later this year, all cryptocurrency gains are going to be subject to a 30% tax — putting digital assets in the country's highest bracket. Airdrops of coins and NFTs would also fall under this category.

Every crypto transaction will also command a 1% levy — a measure that could dramatically reduce the volume of trades in the country.

Zerodha founder Nithin Kamath has predicted that crypto volumes in India "will drop off a cliff" when this is implemented — not least because this would substantially eat into an investor's capital.

The government has also confirmed that all of these taxes cannot be offset against other business expenses.

While the new tax regime was initially welcomed by Indian crypto exchanges — who regarded this as a signal that the country doesn't plan to ban digital assets like Bitcoin — Sitharaman has warned these rules shouldn't be seen to give cryptocurrencies legal status.

Some of the new measures appear designed to deter investors from making crypto transactions altogether — and the 1% levy will be prohibitive to speculative traders.

According to CoinDesk, the leaders of some Indian crypto exchanges are considering whether to challenge the government's tax regime in the Supreme Court.

Two years ago, the country's highest court overturned a controversial ban by the Reserve Bank of India that stopped financial institutions from facilitating crypto-related payments.

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