Following the order, two journalist unions in the state, the Andhra Pradesh Union Of Working and Journalists (APUWJ) and Indian Journalist Union (IJU) met government officials.

working journalists union meet I &PR commissioner by special arrangement
news Taxation Saturday, January 21, 2023 - 16:35

Many state-accredited journalists in Andhra Pradesh received a notice from the Commercial Taxes Department on January 18 stating that they are liable to pay professional tax of Rs 2,500 per year. 

Venkateshwar Rao, a journalist who works for a Telugu daily in Amalapuram area in the Dr Ambedkar Konaseema district received a notice saying that he is liable to pay professional tax of Rs 12,500 (for five years) under Section 10 of the Andhra Pradesh Tax on Professions, Traders, Callings and Employment Act-1987 (APPTCE). The notice signed by a Deputy Commercial Tax Officer stated that Venkateshwar Rao must pay the amount within 15 days of receiving it, or else action will be taken.

Venkateshwar Rao told TNM that several other journalists too had received the notices. “We have learnt that a list has been prepared by the Department to send this notice. “The notice was sent to those journalists who have been accredited by the state for five years and above.” 

Following the order, two journalist unions in the state, the Andhra Pradesh Union Of Working and Journalists (APUWJ) and Indian Journalist Union (IJU) met the Information and Public Relations Commissioner, T Vijay Kumar Reddy at his office on January 19. 

SN Meera, a journalist from Guntur and member of APUWJ told TNM that the Commissioner suggested that whoever receives the notice can send a letter to the Commercial Tax Commissioner stating that they are not liable to pay professional tax. “He told us that journalists in the state need not worry,”said Meera.  

Meera said the union was hopeful that following the meeting with Vijay Kumar Reddy, the government would cease the notices. “We hope that no other journalists receive notice, but if this happens, we will devise a plan of action.”

Subba Rao, Commercial Tax Department Commissioner of Amalapuram said that similar notices had been sent to 28 journalists and the process will go on. “The notices will be sent to others too. The process is not under hold. But we will see the response from the journalists, their objections and then proceed accordingly.” He added that he has not received any official instructions regarding the stoppage of the notices. He was however aware of the unions meeting the I&PR Commissioner. 

Senior journalists TNM spoke to pointed out that many journalists face job insecurity and are sometimes forced to work for free when their employers fail to pay outstanding dues. “In such circumstances, the government is collecting money in the name of tax. How can we not object?,” he asked. 

Topic tags,
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.