Traders will not be taken to task: Isaac

Taxes dept. issues notices to realise VAT arrears

Traders in the State will not be taken to task in the name of the notices issued by the Taxes Department for realising value-added tax (VAT) arrears, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said.

Replying to a notice on an adjournment motion of V.D. Satheesan in the Assembly on Friday on the woes faced by about 52,000 traders who received notices from the Taxes Department for realising huge sums as arrears, Dr. Isaac said the officers concerned had issued the notices in an arbitrary manner, without applying their mind and also in contravention to the government policy.

Hence, a decision has been made to consult the Law Department for initiating further action. No action will be initiated against traders in the name of the notices. Repealing the notices would create legal hassles and may draw flak of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Hence, the consultation with the Law Department. The government was not on a confrontational course with the traders, he said.

The notices were generated by a software. There were calculation errors. The technical glitches need to be cleared

Mr. Satheesan alleged that the way the notices had been issued was proof of an official goof-up. It had been issued at a time when the traders were facing the fallout of an economic slowdown and steep fall in sales returns.

Dr. Isaac said the notices were issued during the time of the Assembly byelections and it was reviewed only after the polls. The government would examine the reasons and take remedial action, he said.

Based on the Minister’s explanation, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan denied notice for the motion and the Opposition walked out in protest.

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