Special Correspondent

Arrears from 1951-52 to 1990-91 in the reckoning

The waiver not applicable in some cases

CHENNAI: The State government has waived sales tax arrears adding up to Rs.98.71 crore for the period up to the financial year 1990-91 that are due from individual establishments, with some exceptions.

Announcing this in the Assembly on Tuesday, Commercial Taxes Minister S.N.M. Ubayadullah said that despite efforts made over the years, sales tax arrears from 1951-52 to 1990-91 could not be realised from merchants, many of whom had gone out of business.

Some of them had died and notices were being served on their legal heirs. Considering these factors, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had ordered that the dues for the period be waived. This step was not taken on the basis of any requests; the government had acted because it was sensitive to the needs of the people, the Minister said.

This waiver would not be applicable in instances where cases relating to tax claims were in court, in the case of people who were deferral rule violators or whose immovable properties had been attached, and with respect to businesses that had closed down after March 31, 2002.

One-time settlement

The outstanding sales tax and central sales tax arrears from 1991-92 to 2001-02 was Rs.2,711.36 crore. A one-time settlement scheme had been drawn up so that merchants could settle arrears up to 2001-02.

In the category of the ‘best of judgment cases,’ the merchants would have to pay only a third of their arrears and 6 per cent interest on that amount.

In the category of ‘admitted tax as per return,’ they would have to pay the entire amount. The interest had been lowered to 6 per cent. Penalty interest would be waived, he said.

VAT exemption

Mustard, fenugreek seeds and saunf would be exempted from tax. They were now charged at 4 per cent. The demand for exemption for branded and unbranded coffee powder, pickle, and ghee would be considered next year, the Minister said.

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