More Punjab BJP leaders on Friday demanded the rollback of 'advance tax on stock', saying it is unacceptable at any cost while describing it as "anti-industry policy" even as excise and taxation department said this "anti-tax evasion" measure will help eliminate inspector raj.
Punjab local bodies minister and BJP MLA Anil Joshi on Thursday threw his weight behind trading community in Amritsar, demanding the withdrawal of 'advance tax on stock' and even threatened to lead industry's protest against it.
"This (Advance tax on stock) is not justified at all. When goods have not been sold, how a trader can pay tax on it," BJP MLA (Jalandhar North) KD Bhandari said today.
"There are (assembly) elections after 2 years...traders are the backbone of the economy. We are with traders and demand its rollback," he said.
Bhandari said he along with other leaders, including BJP MLA and Minister Anil Joshi, met Punjab Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on this issue one month back, demanding a review on it.
Another BJP MLA from Phagwara, Som Prakash also supported the traders' grouse and demanded advance tax on stock should be rolled back. He said that he had also written to the state government in this regard and sought its withdrawal.
"I have also written to the state government and it should not be implemented. It is also BJPs stand and the party has also conveyed it," he said.
Yesterday, Punjab minister Anil Joshi said the ongoing policy of collecting advance tax on stock from traders virtually ruined them economically and said he would prefer to extend support to traders than to continue as Cabinet Minister.
Traders in Punjab have described advance tax on stock as "draconian law", imposed on traders without consulting them by Punjab Excise and Taxation Department.
"We are being asked to pay tax on goods which are still with us as stock and have not been sold. There is no such provision which exists in any other state. We want the old format of tax collection (on sale of goods) should be restored," Federation of Dry Fruits and Karyana Association, President Anil Mehra told PTI.
Meanwhile, Punjab excise and taxation department rejected the charge of bringing "anti-trader" tax provision and said it brought self declaration mode of declaring stocks by traders in order to avoid their exploitation through physical verification of stocks.
"We have amended the law whereby traders can declare their stock themselves in tax returns. We are just asking them to pay tax on estimated value added in stock they purchased. We want that they should pay tax on difference between (estimated) turnover and stock purchased," said an official of excise and taxation department citing anonymity.
This system would also contain 'inspector raj', saving traders from any sort of exploitation and also help boosting tax revenue, he said.