No IT notice against Durga Puja panels this year: CBDT

New Delhi/Kolkata, Aug 13 (IANS) Amid reports of Income Tax notice being issued to the prominent Durga Puja committees in Kolkata, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday issued a release, "strongly denying" the claims, saying it had organised an "educative session" in the city last month to explain the provisions of TDS to the committees, following their own request.

Terming the reports of IT notice being recently issued to the Durga Puja Committee Forum in the city as "factually incorrect", the CBDT said the notice was issued to the forum on December last year calling for details of tax deducted at source (TDS) on payments made to the contractors and event managers by the puja committees.

"There have been reports in the media about Income Tax notices being issued to Durga Puja committees in Kolkata recently. Reports also mention that notices were sent to the Durga Puja Committee Forum in the last few weeks. It is equivocally stated that the reports are factually incorrect and are strongly denied," the release said.

"Notices under 133 (6) Income Tax Act was sent to about 30 Puja committees in December 2018, as it was found that several contractors who were working for the Pujas, were not paying due taxes... Many of the committees complied and furnished details of TDS as well as deposit of the same in the government account," it said.

Bengal's revered festival Durga Puja got caught up in a political tug-of-war as the state's ruling Trinamool Congress accused the BJP-led central government of "conspiring to stop the pujasa by putting pressure on a number of popular puja committees by sending IT notices.

Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee said tax on puja should be exempt as it is organised for the community by collecting tax-payers' money.

On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress' Banga Janani Samini (women wing), held a sit-in against the issuance of notice to the committees.

The local BJP leaders, on the other hand, accused the senior Trinamool leaders of illegal transactions and money laundering through various prominent Pujas in the city.

The CBDT said it had held an educative session for the puja committees in the city in July to explain the provisions of TDS, which was voluntarily attended by eight members of the forum.

"The exercise is in no manner against the Puja committees but has been undertaken to ensure that the contractors and event managers pay their due taxes within stipulated time.

--IANS

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