Condemning the state government for imposing three new taxes, including the advance tax, property tax and regulation charges, on industrial plots, the local Chamber of Industries and Commerce (JCIC) on Saturday threatened to launch a massive agitation if they were not withdrawn soon.
"Industry in Punjab already faces financial disadvantages as it is a land-locked state. The cost of production is high as raw material has to be brought in from outside the state, and high freight charges have to be paid for both export and domestic sale of the manufactured products," said Narinder Kumar Sehgal, president of the Chamber.
He alleged, "The state government recently imposed advance tax on the purchase of raw material from outside the state, which violates the order of the Punjab and Haryana high court staying the imposition of entry tax. Advance tax is just a new name for the same tax."
"Now, we have to pay value added tax (VAT) on finished goods made from the already taxed raw material, on sale to other states," he said, adding that while only eight items were taxable under entry tax, 30 items were listed under advance tax.
"If the purchased raw material is found defective and returned to the supplier, who will refund the advance tax we have paid on it," he said.
Objecting to high fee demanded for regularisation of industrial plots, Chamber general secretary Charanjit Singh Maingi said, "The municipal corporation has already issued factory licence and charges licence fee annually. Besides, the state government had announced subsidies for these units when they were being set up outside the MC limits. Why punish the industry if the MC area has increased."
Criticising collector rate-based property tax, he said that as all industries were situated in industrial zones as per the city master plan, tax rates should not differ based on location and collector rate.
"Moreover, when the rates of income tax, sales tax and central excise are uniform for the entire industry, how can property tax rate differ," he said.