Only 30.9 percent of businesses in fiscal 2001 reported taxable income to the National Tax Agency, the second-lowest figure on record, the agency said Wednesday. The record low — 30.7 percent — was recorded in fiscal 1999.

The fiscal 2001 figure also signifies a fall of 0.2 percentage point from fiscal 2000, which saw the first rise in the corresponding figure in a decade.

The agency said 2,715,000 out of 2,908,000 companies nationwide filed tax returns with the agency between July 1, 2001, and June 30.

The tally of taxable income reported by the companies for fiscal 2001 came to 36.2 trillion yen, a fall of 6.49 trillion yen from the preceding fiscal year, it said.

The agency conducted special examinations of tax returns filed by 125,000 companies whose documents appeared questionable.

According to these probes, around 91,000 of the 125,000 firms in question should have reported 1.46 trillion yen more in taxable income than they actually did, the officials said.

The figure of 1.46 trillion yen marked an increase of 0.6 percent over the preceding fiscal year.

The agency found that firms had hidden a combined 384 billion yen in taxable income in fiscal 2001 by booking bogus expenses or engaging in other deceptive accounting techniques.

The amount represented an increase of 1 billion yen over the preceding fiscal year.

The per-company amount of taxable income concealed stood at a record 14.65 million yen.

Around 49.4 percent of pachinko parlor operators attempted to conceal part of their taxable income.

The corresponding figure for bars and nightclubs stood at 47.2 percent, while that for companies that dispose of industrial waste and other garbage stood at 33.9 percent.