LPG distributors across Punjab are up in arms against the Income Tax department, which has asked them to submit month-by-month sale/purchase details for the post-November 8 demonetisation months, along with details for the same months of 2015-16.
Distributors say the department has hardly them given any time to arrange the required documentation. They have also alleged that under all this exercise of the IT department, they are being forced to contribute to the Pardhanmantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), which began on December 17 last year and will remain open until March 31. Those declaring unaccounted cash under this scheme will be levied a charge amounting to 50 per cent of the value of the deposit as tax, surcharge and penalty. In addition, 25 per cent of the amount will go into the non-interest paying Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit scheme for a period of four years.
The All India LPG Distributors’ Federation’s Punjab unit has passed a resolution against the I-T notice and have also written to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanding an end to “harassment in the name of PMGKY”.
The Federation said that in the weeks after demonestisation, LPG distributors had helped the government tide over the currency shortage by continuing to supply cylinders against old currency notes as per the directions of government. The gas agencies were asked by the government to accept old currency for selling cylinders till December 15, 2016, so that people did not face harassment.
As per the I-T notice (a copy of which is with with The Indian Express), the dealers have been asked to appear in I-T offices along with a large list of documents, including month-wise comparison of the total sale/purchase from September 2015 to December 2015 (Cash/Credit) for the financial year 2015-16 vis a vis September 2016 to December 2016. They have also been asked to submit month-wise comparison of the stock, purchase and sale bills, balance sheets for the same period, and details of the bank accounts.
“We have already provided the details of 2015-16 financial year to the department and now again we are being asked to go through a huge exercise, which is quite cumbersome,” said All India LPG Gas Distributors Federation’s Punjab unit chief Amrik Singh Chawla.
Chawla said dealers had already provided the information to the joint secretary of Department of Economic Affairs recently and even I-T department had all the details of their bank accounts.
“If anybody is at fault and had not declared actual income, that dealer should be penalized, but not every dealer,” said another Federation official.
There are 400 distributors across the state and each of them deals with 15,000 to 16,000 households.
The official said they were given just a day or two to appear with all the documents and that the notices stated they could leave the I-T office on the day of their summons without permission of officials. Also, they were threatened with a penalty of Rs 10,000 for each discrepancy found in the papers they submitted.
Chawla said around 10 distributors from Malwa had reported to the Federation that they had contributed 3 to 5 per cent of their total sale in PMKGY scheme to escape this harassment.
I-T officials said they were not forcing anyone but merely following rules in asking those who had not declared their actual income to evade tax to deposit the money in the announced PMKGY scheme.