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.
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, calling for details of tax deducted at source on payments made to contractors and event managers etc. engaged by the committees for the Puja events, including the TDS statement. This was part of an exercise carried out by the TDS wing of the Department to ensure that the contractors and event managers pay their due taxes in time. Many of the committees complied and furnished evidence of tax deducted at source as well as deposit of the same into the Government account.
It is also pertinent to state that several committees requested the Department to organise educative sessions to explain the provisions of TDS to the committees. Taking a cue from the same, one such outreach programme was organised on the 16th of July, 2019 for the Durga Puja Committees at their own request. Nearly eight (8) members of the Forum attended the outreach programme voluntarily and were educated about the provisions of TDS. Their doubts pertaining to TDS provisions were also clarified.
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.
Ministry of Finance
[Press Release dt. 13-08-2019]