STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In continuation to the ongoing outreach programmes of Income Tax and CGST departments across UT of J&K and Ladakh, Taxpayers Awareness Campaign, ‘Mulaqaat’ continued on Thursday in Anantnag & Kupwara of Kashmir Province, Leh of UT of Ladakh and Kathua & Katra of Jammu Province.
In Kupwara, the programme was conducted at Town Hall where along with Joint Commissioner Income Tax, Rajiv Gubgotra and officers of CGST Department, the ADC was also present. In Anantnag, the programme was conducted at the Dak Bunglow, Khannabal where along with the District Magistrate, Dr Piyush Singla, Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Abhishri & officers of CGST Department were also present. 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. Feedback from the people was taken by the officers regarding taxation issues and their aspirations from the Union Budget.
Similar ‘Outreach & interaction programs were also organized by both the departments at Hotel White, Katra and Degree College for Women, Kathua which ere 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. Baljeet Kaur, Addl. Commissioner of Income Tax, Range, Jammu and Rahul Padha, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Circle Jammu informed the audience at Katra & 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’ and the department has taken several initiatives to increase ease of compliance and reduce cost of compliance to tax laws & rules for the taxpayers. The concerned jurisdictional officers viz Parvesh Khajuria ITO Katra and M B Raizada, ITO Kathua along with Dharmender Gupta, ITO also addressed the gathering and explained simplification in the Tax laws and facilities available. The participants were also made to understand the benefits of filing of income tax return. On the GST front, Pr Commissioner of CGS, Jammu Mahesh Kumar Rustogi and Dinesh Kumar, Asstt. Commissioner of CGST, Jammu emphasized on Atmanirbhar, Make In India, Digital India and Swachhata Mission. Explaining the GST as a major reform to mitigate the cascading effects of various taxes such as state and central taxes (C. Ex. Duty, ST, VAT, Purchase Tax, Entry Tax Luxury tax etc), the officers also gave a power point presentation on GST.
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 number 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 1,000 to Rs 2,000 to ease compliance burden on small hotels. Shiv Kumar Sharma, former president Hotel and Restaurants Association also emphasized that the Government needs to develop Katra as a tourist centre and pay attention to beautification of the town and provision of other facilities for the large number 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 that has applied and shown interest in setting of industries in Kathua. Shyam Narayan Mehta, President Brick Kiln Manufacturer, Kathua while applauding efforts of the income tax and CGST authorities in addressing the grievances of general businessman and requested to impress upon concerned authorities to check the illegal entry of goods especially bricks and other building materials in Kathua.