Punjab on Friday announced abolition of the e-TRIP system besides increasing the value added tax (VAT) on steel industry by 1%.
Announcing this while interacting with the members of the beopar mandal, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal here said rolling back e-TRIP would exempt around 1.86 lakh dealers having a turnover of less than Rs 1 crore from the value added tax (VAT) assessment by the excise department.
e-TRIP was a facility through which the details of each movement of goods were entered on the excise and taxation department’s website, www.pextax.com. This used to result in the generation of an acknowledgement slip which had to accompany the goods during their movement. In case the acknowledgement slip did not accompany the goods, the owner was held liable for penal action under the Punjab VAT Act.
With the state election commission set to announce the schedule for the upcoming local bodies elections in 129 civic bodies across the state by next week, the populist measure is being seen as a move to appease the industry and traders as they constitute a significant vote bank in urban pockets.
The move is bound to further affect the already depleted financial health of the state. Also, it was a long-pending demand of the Shiromani Akali Dal’s coalition partner BJP in the Punjab government, and after the recent improvement in the SAD’s relations with the saffron party, the move is being seen as a goodwill gesture by the deputy CM, also president of the SAD.
Excise and taxation commissioner Anurag Verma said, “Steel mill owners and traders had been demanding abolition of e-TRIP. They have no problem in paying 1% more tax.”
Sukhbir also announced to implement the Rahat scheme for all urban areas and launched the helpline number 1800-258-2580 for the business community to register their grievances and suggestions. The deputy CM said that from now on, e-TRIP would not be applicable in the state.
Sukhbir said it was the long-pending demand of industrialists and traders as they were resisting the existing VAT collection system of the excise and taxation department.
According to the new tax assessment policy, no case with a turnover of less than Rs 1 crore would be taken up for assessment, thereby benefitting dealers constituting about 80% of the total dealer base. The decision is critical to traders as their assessments of the last four years are due and with this they have been freed from assessments for these four years.
The deputy chief minister also announced that the criteria for selection of cases would be decided by the government and would be put on the website of the department. He said the list of cases selected for assessment would also be put on the website and if any excise and taxation officer took up any case outside the list published on the website, the dealer concerned could complain at the helpline number.
Announcing a big relief to the small re-rolling mills, Sukhbir said the iron industry would have to pay VAT under the lump-sum scheme based on electricity consumption with 50 paise per unit of electricity consumed.
With the abolition of e-TRIP for the industry, the re-rolling millers will have to pay only 2% tax at the stage of import or first purchase instead of the advance tax of 2.5%.
The deputy chief minister also announced a new tax slab and extended the Rahat scheme for shopkeepers of Class-1 and corporation towns, which was earlier applicable only to Class-2 and Class-3 towns.
He said that under this scheme, traders would not have to maintain account books, stock registers, purchase invoices or bills, and ledgers and goods receipts, and these measures would completely end the Inspector Raj.