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Will they, won’t they? Traders in a fix as Govt yet to decide on timeline extension
Payment of tax arrears under Amnesty Scheme
6/30/2020 12:06:40 AM

JAMMU, June 29: With only a day remaining for the deadline to make payment of tax arrears under the Amnesty Scheme announced to extend benefits to the trading community of J&K for the settlement of unresolved issues in the old tax regime, traders are in a big fix whether they deposit or not as they have not more than few hours at their disposal to settle the hefty dues in such a short notice of time.
A large number of traders have yet to deposit the payments as they were expecting an extension in the timeline but the government so far has not made any indication in this regard.
It is pertinent to mention here that under the Amnesty Scheme, sanction was accorded to remission of penalty and the interest on arrears of tax under the provisions of J&K Value Added Tax, 2005 (now repealed). It was announced that there shall be 100% remission of penalty and interest on arrears of tax for dealers under the provisions of J&K VAT, 2005, who pay the admitted, assessed and re-assessed principal tax up to the accounting year 2016-17 in three equal installments. It was also mentioned that the scheme shall also include period from April 1, 2017 to July 7, 2017 and the re-assessed principal tax has to be paid by or before June 30, 2020.
But, the contention of the trading community is that even as the government announced an extension of timeline till June 30 to deposit the arrears ending February this year, however, after the announcement was made business activities almost remained paralyzed due to the partial restrictions from the second week of March and subsequent imposition of complete lockdown from March 25 arising out of the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to unforeseen events since August 5, 2019, and subsequently due to coronavirus pandemic this year, which resulted in continuous lockdown from March 25 till June 8, trade as well as industrial fraternity, has been terribly hit,” wishing anonymity, a Jammu based trader said.
“Though the government had extended the benefits of amnesty till June 30, 2020 but no business activity could take place in two months of April and May while the trading remained by and large affected in March also. So, in such a situation where hardly any income was generated by the trading community, how is it possible for us to deposit the arrears within due date? We urge the government to extend the date of amnesty scheme till the end of September 2020,”
He said that various trade bodies have submitted repeated representations with the government to extend the due date of making payments of arrears but a favourable response in this connection is still awaited.
He further said that while the PDD has announced extension in its Amnesty Scheme for making payments of pending electricity bills till August ending but the Finance Department has not shown such magnanimity to the plight of the trading community whose income is at the lowest ebb due to the present crisis situation.
However, when contacted president of Chamber of Traders Federation Jammu, Neeraj Anand exuded confidence that the government will announce the extension of dates as they are already in regular touch with the authorities over the issue.
“We have written to Lieutenant Governor’s office for the extension in timeline and hopefully it will be agreed upon. We are quite hopeful,” said Neeraj Anand.
“It is not an unwarranted demand as the trading community was not able to do any business during the lockdown phase. The benefits envisaged earlier should be given to the traders by extending the deadline to make up for the losses incurred for the period of two months,” he added.
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