In a move that is set to benefit scores of traders across Gujarat,state Finance Minister Vaju Vala on Tuesday announced a Value Added Tax (VAT) Settlement Scheme in the Assembly.
Under the amnesty scheme,traders who have up to Rs 20,000 due as sales tax will be given complete waiver,while those with higher dues (not more than Rs 1 crore) will not be required to pay interest and penalty.
Vala said,The Gujarat Value Added Tax Act is in force in the state since April 1,2006. Before that,the Sales Tax Act was in force. Due to various reasons,a number of recovery cases are pending since the time of Sales Tax Act. So its necessary to dispose of these cases.
He further said that due to non-payment of taxes,the interest burden has increased. This issue needs to be addressed immediately. To dispose of these cases and give relief to traders,it is decided to bring the Sales Tax Settlement Scheme 2012, added the Minister.
The scheme will be effective from April 1,and those willing to avail the benefit can apply for waiver till September 30 this year. Under the scheme,dues exceeding Rs 1 crore will not be considered. Also,it will not be implemented on cases under investigation,Vala said.
The traders seeking to avail the benefit will be required to withdraw their litigation and claims,if any,against the government at various levels.
Reacting to the announcement,state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said,The minister could have announced it in the Budget or during demands of his department. He cannot announce it in the House in this manner.
Parliamentary Affairs and Law Minister Dilip Sanghani,however,said that as per rules,the Minister has the right to make the announcement.
Calling the scheme misleading,Modhwadia said,If the government really wants to give any real benefit to the people,then it should reduce (VAT) rate on petrol,diesel and other products that directly affect the people.