• State to emerge as most preferred trade destination-Sukhbir Singh Badal
• "We want the traders to focus on business and economic activities Instead of maintaining paper records and dealing with the Inspectors"
• First state across the country to announce Social security for traders
• Single stage taxation from January 2014
• Corrupt officials to be dismissed from service
Chandigarh, November 14-The Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced the path breaking New Traders' Policy-2013 with the goal to make the state as the most ideal state for commerce and trade, after making it the third preferred investment destination across the country.
Today, unveiling the new policy, the Deputy Chief Minister said that under the new policy, the Punjab Government has ensured the minimum interface between dealers and department to ease out the trade and one of its kind social security for the traders, besides Simplifying Procedures and facilitation by introducing VDS and single stage taxation.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that for the minimum interface between dealers and department to ensure hassle free and transparent governance a single taxation system would be implemented from 1st January 2014. Mr. Badal said that "We want the traders to focus on business and economic activities Instead of maintaining paper records and dealing with the Inspectors". Initially, white Goods, aerated Drinks, Karyana/ Fast Moving Consumer Goods marketed by MNCs would be covered under single stage taxation. The new effective tax component will be lower than the existing effective tax component.
He said that the Punjab Government has taken three major initiatives for hassle free and timely refund of VAT, including Creation of Dedicated Refund Fund, Star Rating Scheme for fast tracking of Refunds and Online transfer of refunds into the dealers' accounts. Mr. Badal said that a dedicated "Punjab VAT Refund Fund" has been constituted only for refunds, in which all the collections made under Advance Tax would be deposited. The Deputy Chief Minister has also announced that the entire backlog of refunds would be cleared by 31st March, 2014.
To eliminate frauds in VAT refunds, Star rating system for fast tracking of funds from December 2013 would be put into action. Mr. Badal said that "We want to differentiate between good tax payers and fraudsters". He said that fraudulent traders had made the business of claiming bogus VAT refunds without even paying any taxes to the government. Under Star rating the highest tax payer would be granted "five star" to whom the refunds would be paid within 15 days. 4, 3 and 2 star rated traders would be able to get refunds within 25, 35 and 45 days via online. It may be mention here that in the month of October, 2013, refunds worth Rs 70 crores was disbursed online into the accounts of the dealers.
The Punjab Government has also given a big relief to the Brick Kilns, Plywood, Bakery and Dhabha Owners as lump sum tax has been introduced for them. Besides that the rate of tax for ToT dealers has been reduced from 1% to 0.25 %. To eradicate "Inspector Raj" the limit for requirement of audit by CA has also been enhanced from Rs. 50 Lakhs to Rs. 1 crore.
Mr. Badal said that 100 percent Online Filling of Returns and Online Payment of taxes through ICICI, HDFC, PNB, Canara Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mohindra and Bank of Baroda was initiated.
A unique VDS (Voluntary Disclosure Scheme) was also announced for those dealers who have committed certain mistakes, while submitting their returns and paying the tax but now they were willing to rectify their mistakes. Under VDS dealers would have to submit application by 31st December, 2013, stating the mistake committed by him/her and undertake to deposit the correct/actual tax due along with 1.5% interest from the day the tax was due. ETO will calculate the tax due and inform the applicant within 30 days, who have to deposit 25% of the tax due plus interest within a month. The dealer may pay the balance 75% amount within another 60 days.
With the announcement of New Traders' Policy, Punjab has also become the first state to implement the social security for traders from 1st January 2014. Traders having turn over upto Rs 1 crore would be covered under Health Insurance Scheme up to Rs.50,000 in the case of hospitalization due to accident or illness . It would cover any kind of surgeries and diseases like Heart problem, Stone, Hernia, Cancer, Kidney failure and Stroke/Paralysis. On the economic front, fire Insurance Cover of Rs.5.00 lacs would also be given in the case of natural calamities like earthquake and floods, besides riots.