Amid Internet Gag, Tax Payers Stare At Fine Upto Rs 5000 

Representational Pic

SRINAGAR – Thousands of people, who have failed to file Income Tax return due to suspension of internet services for the past over two months in view of unrest in Kashmir valley following scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A, are staring at a fine of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000.

Meanwhile, the gag on internet has also badly affected traders, who are unable to file returns under Goods and Service Tax (GST) following which their counterparts in rest of the country are unable to get input credit on the goods they export to the valley.

The gag on all means of communication, including mobile and internet service of all Cellular companies, entered 11th week on Monday, badly affecting several sectors, including IT professionals, students and journalists, in Kashmir, where people are protesting against scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A, besides bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.

“Thousands of people have missed the deadline to file IT return due to gag on internet as it has to be done online,” said a professional working for a Charted Accountant (CA) company.

He said as these people have missed the deadline to file IT return, they will have to pay a fine utp Rs 5000 if they file their return till December 31. “For people earning upto Rs 3 lakh a year, they will have to pay Rs 1000 as fine. For employees earning RS 5 lakh as yearly income, they will have to pay Rs 5000 as fine if they file returns before December 31,” he said.

He said if people fail December 31 deadline, they will have to pay a fine of Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 according to their income slab. “The fine was introduced last year by the center. Earlier there was no fine associated with filing income tax return late. But since last year, delay in filing IT returns has attracted fine,” he added.

However, expressing disappointment over the fine, people said that the delay happened due to the gag on internet and was not done intentionally by them. “It is unfair that they have to pay the fine as it was due to the gag imposed by the authorities that they were unable to file IT return,” Nazir Khan, a government employee, said.

Khan said that the fine should be reversed and arrangements should be made for the employees to file returns. “We should either be allowed to file the return off line or internet facility should be provided to the people so that they can file IT returns,” he added.

Meanwhile, traders also expressed concern over gag on internet and demanded immediate revocation of the curb. “We are unable to file returns under GST following which traders from whom we purchase goods are under to get input credit. The traders have warned us that if the situation remains the same they will not sell goods to us, which could lead to shortage of items in the valley,” the traders said.

They said they also have to file Tax audit by October 31 for which a digital signature of the owner of the firm is required. “As there is no internet service available in the valley, they will not be able to file Tax audits as it requires digital signature of the owner of the firm. In this case, the owner or the signing authority of the firm will have to go outside the valley to file the tax audit,” they added.

The communication network, including mobile, landline and internet services, was suspended across Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, on August 5 as a precautionary measure to prevent rumours after the special status of the state was scrapped. Suspension of the communication — landline, mobile and internet — network evoked sharp reaction, particularly from the families whose relatives were outside the valley.

It was in the last week of August that landlines were restored to subscribers connected with Barzulla and Sonawar telephone exchanges. Landlines phones of subscribers, including all media organizations, from main BSNL telephone exchange were restored only on September 5.

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