JAMMU/SRINAGAR/LADAKH, Dec 2: In continuation to the ongoing outreach programmes of Income Tax and CGST departments, Taxpayers Awareness Campaign ‘Mulaqaat’ was organized in the districts of Anantnag and Kupwara of Kashmir Province, Leh of UT of Ladakh and Kathua and Katra of Jammu Province.
In Kupwara, the programme was attended by Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Rajiv Gubgotra and officers of the CGST Department. In Anantnag, the programme was attended by District Magistrate, Dr Piyush Singla, Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Abhishri and officers of the CGST Department.
The interaction was with representatives of the local youth, dry fruit shop owners, willow bat manufacturers and other small shopkeepers and businessmen in large numbers. Feedback from the people was taken by the officers regarding taxation issues and their aspirations from the Union Budget.
With regard to the Union Budget the locals gave their ideas and suggestions based on their local issues. Increased focus on tourism, construction of mini hydro power stations, employment generation for the youth especially women, promotion of willow bats and increased access to credit facilities were the highlights from Anantnag.
In Kupwara, the taxpayers were educated about the technological advancements brought in both the departments and the transparency and accountability associated with the same. The officers noted down the detailed points raised by the locals, collected feedback forms and promised to communicate the same to their superiors.
On behalf of Income Tax Department, M.P Singh, Pr. Commissioner of Income Tax, Srinagar assured that the Income Tax Department is committed to the best taxpayer services for its assessees and all their grievances will be redressed in a transparent and efficient manner.
In Leh, the programme was conducted at the Indus Valley Hotel Conference Hall where along with the Commissioner of GST Hardeep Batra, Ashwani Singhal DCIT Gurgaon, Dr Aman Bishla, ACIT Faridabad, Basant DCIT Ludhiana & officers of the CGST Department were present.
The interaction was with representatives of the hotel owners, textile association, FMCG distributors, local youth, and other small shopkeepers & businessmen. Feedback from the people was taken by the officers regarding taxation issues and their aspirations from the Union Budget.
Similar programs were also organized by both the departments at Hotel White Katra and Degree College for Women, Kathua which were attended by representatives of the Traders & Industries Association, Vyapar Mandal, Hotel and Restaurants Association, Hotel Association, Press Club, Dry Fruit Association, Brick Kiln Manufacturer Association, Chamber of Traders Federation, Kathua, Teachers, tax consultants, and college students.
During the seminar, the departmental officers informed the audience that Income Tax Department has not only made achievements in tax collections but also in the technological advancements so as to increase transparency in the working and ease of compliance.
Baljeet Kaur, Addl. Commissioner of Income Tax, Range, Jammu and Rahul Padha, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Circle Jammu informed the audience at Katra and Kathua respectively that over the years there has been a marked change in the role of the Income Tax Department from that of a ‘Tax regulator’ to ‘Tax Facilitator’.
The concerned jurisdictional officers namely Parvesh Khajuria, ITO Katra and M B Raizada, ITO Kathua alongwith Dharmender Gupta, ITO also addressed the gathering and explained the simplification in the Tax laws and the facilities available to the assessee in the new e-filing portal.
On the GST front, Pr. Commissioner of CGST, Jammu Mahesh Kumar Rustogi and Dinesh Kumar, Asstt. Commissioner of CGST, Jammu emphasized on the Atam Nirbhar, Make In India , Digital India and Swachhata Mission.
Rakesh Wazir, President Hotel and Restaurants, Katra recommended a reduction in direct tax rates and suggested that the Govt may rather increase GST rates. He also emphasized there should be increase in no. of tax slabs to further reduce tax burden on small traders.
Sham Kesar, Chairman Hotel Association Katra stated that Katra experienced huge losses in COVID times as the hotel business, which is the backbone of Katra’s economy, was badly affected and will take at least three to four years for recovery. He also proposed to increase threshold limit for applicability of GST on hotel room tariffs from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000 to ease compliance burden on small hotels.
Shiv Kumar Sharma, former president Hotel and Restaurants Association also emphasized that the Govt needs to develop Katra as a tourist centre and pay attention to beautification of the town and provision of other facilities for the large no. of pilgrims visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
Ajit Bawa from Industries Federation, Kathua made a request to arrange land allotment at the earliest possible to industrial houses who have applied and shown interest in setting of industries in Kathua, J&K. Shyam Narayan Mehta, President Brick Kiln Manufacturer, Kathua while applauding the efforts of the income tax and CGST authorities in addressing the grievances of general businessman made a request to impress upon concerned authorities to check the illegal entry of goods especially bricks and other building materials in the UT at Kathua.