LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh is known for street food. While the connoisseurs satiate their taste buds, the vendors earn handsomely but with little or no concern for income tax. A similar case emerged in Aligarh where a small outlet selling steaming and spicy ‘kachouris’ - in a narrow lane -- attracted the commercial
The commercial tax department took Mukesh Kumar, the outlet owner, on its radar when they found that he had an annual turnover of around Rs 60-70 lakh but did not bother to pay any tax.
A search was conducted by the officials of special investigating branch (SIB) of commercial tax department (Aligarh range) and to their utter astonishment, they found that Kachouri Bhandar’s owner was playing in crores, had been conveniently evading tax with no GST (goods and services tax) registration.
The commercial tax department served a notice to Mukesh Kumar seeking the details of his annual income. Moreover, the department is also planning to bring other such small time food vendors under tax lens.
AK Maheshwari, Commercial Tax Officer of Aligarh said that during the raids it was found that despite having huge annual turnover, the Kachouri Bhandar owner neither paid tax nor did he registered his business under GST Act. On investigation, it came to the fore that their annual income was more than Rs 60 lakh. The SIB conducted the search following a complaint received from Lucknow. According to officials, the annual turnover of Mukesh could be even to the tune of Rs 1 crore.
However, crying foul over raids, Mukesh claimed that he was being hounded by taxmen for no reason. He accepted that his annual turnover would maximum be around Rs 25-30 lakh but not Rs 60-70 lakh as was projected by the tax department. “My shop was raided on June 20. My daily sale is around Rs. 2000-3000. Modi Ji had said that GST registration is required in turnover of more than Rs 40 lakh, my income is not even half of it. These people are threatening me now,” he said.
Located near Seema Talkies in Aligarh, the ordinary-looking shop sees brisk sale throughout the day. Mukesh has been running the shop for the last 10-12 years and has become popular in due course of time.
This may just be the tip of an iceberg as Mukesh is not even among the big ‘kachori’ sellers of Aligarh and there are bigger names who might have been evading tax.
Officials of the department do not rule out massive tax evasion by such roadside stalls selling snacks. According to officials, there are about 600 kachouri sellers in Aligarh.