Srinagar, Dec 19: Internet blues continue to haunt Kashmir Inc. as more than 40 per cent of traders have missed the deadline for filing Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns in the valley.
Since July, business community has not been able to file GST returns as government blocked mobile and broadband internet services post abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.
Last month, the government extended the date for filing GST returns to December 20. Sources in the Taxes Department said that an estimated 60 per cent of the traders have filed their GST returns in Kashmir so far.
The remaining 40 per cent traders, who fear that their GSTN may be blocked again, have demanded extension in the date of filing GST returns.
“The government should immediately extend our deadline for filing GST returns. Internet is still blocked and at the same time the kiosks set up by the government are not sufficient enough to cater to increasing rush of tax payers,” said Federation Chamber of Commerce of Kashmir (FCIK), Mohammad Ashraf Mir.
Mir said apart from traders, there is a huge rush of students at kiosks who submit their forms for National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and other courses. “Many among us have gone to other states for filing GST returns. But small traders can’t afford it. They may have to pay heavy price if the date is not extended,” he said.
There are around 48,000 businesspersons who are entitled to file their GST returns in Kashmir region. The government set up internet kiosks for traders in every district. Each center was equipped with 30 computers with internet connection. Plus 60 computers have been reserved for traders at the office of Taxes Department in Srinagar.
Traders said losses due to the uncertainty have made tax filings a challenging task. “KCCI has recently released assessment report quantifying the losses suffered by the business community. Under these circumstances, filing GST is very difficult for a trader,” said Nasir Hamid Khan, senior vice president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI).
Khan demanded that the government should extend the deadline for filing GST immediately. “Majority of the traders haven’t filed the returns for more than four months now,” Khan said.