Plea to rationalise tax rates

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 31. The Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the state government to rationalise tax rates on several commodities, including ready-made garments, agarbathi, sanitary wares, glazed tiles with a view to reducing the differences of Kerala rates with that of neighbouring States.

In a memorandum submitted to the Finance Minister, K Sankaranarayanan, who initiated the pre-budget discussions with various sections, the Chamber said that tax of ayurveda soap should be withdrawn totally, while additional sales tax should be merged with sales tax.

The memorandum urged the Finance Minister to consider setting up a committee to examine the complaints relating to harassment of traders by sales tax officers at the various checkposts. It wanted the Government to revive the Sales Tax Advisory Board, which had become defunct since 1992 and the establishment of a commerce department in view of Kerala's status as a consumer State.

The memorandum urged the Minister to fulfil his promise to set up the sales tax settlement commission. It wanted a special package for the Kallai timber industry and a investment package for Beypore port. The chamber also appealed to the Government to amend certain provisions in the Sales Tax laws relating to vacating stays within 180 days if the appeal was not disposed. It said that traders would be punished for no fault of theirs if the provisions were implemented. It wanted the system of mandatory audit of traders who have a turnover of more than Rs 25 lakhs.

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