The excise department on Tuesday withdrew a notice issued to the BJP, including its Chandigarh unit, asking it to pay service tax on the amount collected by selling tickets during rallies by the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Officials of the Director-General of Central Excise Intelligence said the notice, issued to the Chandigarh, Himachal, J& K and Punjab units of BJP by its Ludhiana regional unit stand withdrawn.
In its letter the department had asked the BJP units to inform within 10 days of receiving the letter, details of the amount collected through sale of tickets and service tax paid, if any.
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The notice, dated February 12, 2014, was received at the BJP office today, evoking protests from the party. Late in the evening, however, a fax was received at the BJP office, informing that there was no need to respond to the letter.
The notice had stated that recently it was in the news that BJP had collected money through tickets for entry to rallies addressed by Modi at different places. It asked for details of the rallies held after July 1, 2012. in the region falling under the Chandigarh BJP office.
The letter further said, “After coming into operation of the negative list regime under service tax laws w.e.f 01.07.2012, every service is now taxable except services in negative list and in mega exemption list.
As the entry ticket to the event were not for any admission to entertainment event or access to amusement facilities (which are in the negative list) the same is taxable in the hands of person collecting the amount of tickets.
It appears that Bharatiya Janata Party/Shri Narendra Modi has neither got registered under service tax nor paid service tax on collection from tickets,”\ said Rajesh K Arora, Directorate’s senior intelligence officer, in his letter.
Interestingly, no rally by Modi has been held in Chandigarh. Modi was scheduled to address a rally at Jagraon in December, but this was postponed due to inclement weather and will now be held on February 23.
At Modi’s rally at Hamirpur in Himachal last Sunday, there were no entry tickets. However, in certain other states where Modi’s rallies were held, an entry fee – between Rs 5 and Rs 10 — was charged.
— With inputs from PTI