India

Tax notices to Durga Puja committees: CBDT says reports incorrect, Mamata slams 'Puja Jijia tax'

Tax notices to Durga Puja committees: CBDT says reports incorrect, Mamata slams 'Puja Jijia tax'
Mamata Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee Durga puja committees, Mamata Banerjee slams BJP, IT notice to Durga puja committees, India news, Indian Express

As TMC on Tuesday protested against income tax (I-T) notices served to Durga Puja committees, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a statement calling the reports regarding this “factually incorrect”. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back at the CBDT, terming the imposition of tax on Durga Puja committees “Puja Jijia tax”.

In a statement late Tuesday evening, the CBDT said, “There have been reports in the media about Income Tax notices being issued to Durga Puja Committees in Kolkata recently. The reports also mention that Income Tax notices were sent to the Durga Puja Committee Forum in the last few weeks. It is unequivocally stated that the said reports are factually incorrect and are strongly denied. It is a fact that no notice was issued to the Durga Puja Committee Forum by the Department during this year.”

It added, “However, as the Department had been getting information that several contractors who were doing work for the Puja committees were not paying due taxes, therefore notices under section 133(6) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 were issued in December 2018 to about 30 committees… Many of the committees complied (with) and furnished evidence of tax deducted at source as well as deposit of the same into the Government account.”

The statement added, “It is reiterated that the aforesaid exercise is in no manner whatsoever against the Puja Committees, but has been undertaken to ensure that the contractors and event managers pay their due taxes correctly within the stipulated time.”

Banerjee later wrote on her Facebook page, “I have come to know just now that CBDT has issued a Press Release clarifying regarding notices to Durga Puja Committees for puja tax, which is popularly known as ‘Puja Jijia Tax’.”

Terming the statement misleading, the CM said, “CBDT clarification that no notices have been issued for this year makes little sense. It is only obvious that for pujas held this year, notices will only be issued next year, which is as per their scheme of tax assessment. So, the clarification itself proves that the imposition of tax very much stands. Then, why misleading? The Press Release is a sheer distortion of facts with an aim to create confusion in the minds of local people and puja committees and perpetrate mental tension.”