Srinagar: In continuation of the outreach programmes across J&K and Ladakh, Taxpayers Awareness Campaign, ‘Mulaqaat’ was continued Friday in the district of Pulwama of Kashmir Province. The proceedings were chaired by M.P Singh (IRS Officer of the 1990 Batch) who heads the Income Tax Department in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Srinagar (PCIT). The District Magistrate of Pulwama, Baseer Chaudhary IAS and officers of the CGST Department were also present.
The interaction was with representatives of the local youth, representatives from the trade community, industrialists, saffron growers, small shopkeepers and businessmen in large numbers. Along with spreading awareness amongst the taxpayers regarding Income Tax Slab rates, the PCIT urged the audience to contribute to the process of nation building as honest and proud tax payers. He further emphasised that economic development without financial discipline cannot bring self respect among people. The first step towards financial discipline is to pay their due taxes and file their ITRs which is a very essential process. The department accepts the ITRs as such in 99% cases and in the territories like J&K, less than 0.2% returns are scrutinised that too under the watchful eyes of senior most authorities. He reiterated that there is no scope of any bias or harassment any more under the new transparent and accountable tax regime. He further spoke about the Faceless Scheme under which all scrutiny proceedings would be conducted online to ensure smooth compliance and transparency of the proceedings. Singh emphasised that for redressing the genuine grievances of the tax payers, officers are resolved to go the extra mile and sit for late hours and are actually doing so. Beyond this, feedback from the people was taken by the officers regarding taxation issues and their aspirations from the Union Budget. The local traders and small shopkeepers were also informed about sections of the Income Tax Act, 1961, under which they can avail of the presumptive taxation scheme under which no books of accounts are required to be maintained and taxable income is calculated on presumptive basis.
With regard to the Union Budget, the locals gave their ideas and suggestions, centric to Pulwama district. Increased focus on industrialisation of Pulwama along with tax benefits for the same was highlighted by the locals. In this regard, the District Magistrate of Pulwama intimated that various subsidies to the tune of Rs. 3600 crore are given to the industrial sector, which has created employment opportunities for more than 37,000 people. The local youth of Pulwama raised issues related to CA (Controlled Atmosphere) cold stores, dairy farms, corrugated box factories, appealed for reduction of GST rates and highlighted issues related to GST. They urged that manufacturing units of Kashmir are not able to compete with other states due to higher transportation costs and to promote local industries higher rates of CGST should be on finished products brought in states rather than on raw material. A Taxpayers’ Awareness and Facilitation camp was also organised in the district. Overall, it was a highly constructive and fruitful interactive session where the voices, thoughts and ideas of the locals from Pulwama were heard and recorded. Singh assured that the Income Tax Department is committed to the best taxpayer services for it’s assesses and that the doors of his office are always open for the public.