Transparent tax collection system brings big respite to traders in HP


    Realizing the importance of Excise and Taxation Department as the biggest revenue collection Department, the State Government has taken up various initiatives for effective revenue collections like introduction of transparent tax collection system besides providing various facilities to facilitate the trading community.


    The Department is contributing in collection of 65 percent of total revenue of the State. The consistent efforts of the State Government have helped in achieving remarkable increase in the revenue. The Excise and Taxation Department collected revenue to the tune of Rs. 15, 288 crore during the last three years and a target of collection of Rs. 6,559 crore has been set for the current fiscal.


    In order to provide insurance cover to all the registered traders and dealers of the State, they are being brought under the ambit of group accident insurance scheme by relaxing the annual business limit during this year and the premium is being borne by the State Government. Till last year the traders having annual business turnover below Rs. 25 lakh were eligible for this scheme. Now the insurance cover under this scheme has also been enhanced from Rs. 2 lakh to 3 lakh.


    The traders having annual turnover of Rs. 1.50 crore are also being covered under deemed assessment during this year and this has facilitated them in saving precious time from passing through the regular evaluation process whereas last year this facility was being given to traders having annual turnover of rupees 1 crore. The dealers are now being provided information about deemed assessment through departmental website and SMS as well.


    This year the small traders having annual turnover up to Rs. 30 lakh are being brought under lump-sump tax payment scheme under which the provision has been made to pay tax at the rate of one percent whereas earlier this facility was available to only those traders whose annual turnover was limited to Rs. 25 lakh.


    Likewise, the Department is also providing the facility of common log-in ID to the dealers to facilitate them in filing or uploading returns through different log-in IDs under various Acts from their homes. This facility has been extended to all the registered traders and it has helped them to avoid unwanted visits to the offices of Excise and Taxation department time and again. They can avail this service sitting at their homes or at commercial complexes even on holidays.  Besides, the State government has also waived-off the registration fee which was being charged under Himachal Pradesh Value Added Act.


    The State has also given special emphasis on saving precious energy and with a view to encourage usage of maximum solar energy, VAT has been fully exempted on solar cookers and solar lanterns which was earlier being charged at the rate of five percent. Likewise, in a major decision, the VAT on all LED lights has been reduced from 13.5 percent to 5 percent. The State Government has also reduced VAT percentage on body fabrication of buses and trucks from existing 13.75 percent to 5 percent so as to benefit the large number of traders. The regulations have already been revised to ensure time bound refund of VAT to the dealers.


    The tax on packaged water bottles has been reduced so that this industry could compete with the industrial establishments in other States. To give relief to the iron and steel manufactures of the State who are under pressure due to slump in the market, the AGT on steel and iron has been reduced from Rs.75 per metric tonne to Rs. 50 per metric tonne.


    The State government has revised VAT Act to assist the lakhs of small and marginal traders by providing exemption in VAT payments to the traders engaged in running dhabas, tea stalls, sweet shops and chaat business having annual business below rupees eight lakh. Earlier, this relaxation was applicable to the traders having annual business below rupees five lakh only. The trucks entering the State from outside having a complete on-line declaration of carrying goods now need not to stop at the barrier. This decision has eased the process of goods transportation at barriers besides getting rid of unnecessary traffic hazard at the barriers.


    In order to boost the tourism activities in the State, the tax on fuel being purchased by the scheduled airlines has been reduced from 27 percent to mere 1 percent only. The luxury tax on hotels and home-stays in the backward Panchayats has also been exempted for the period of ten years.

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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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