The Department of Excise & Taxations is the largest revenue collection department in the State. The state government has not only taken various initiatives for the revenue collections like introducing a transparent tax collection system but also taking suitable steps for the convenience of the business community.
The State Government is providing on-line facilities of filing e-returns, e-declaration, e-tax payment, VAT, CST, CGCR, LT, PGT and M&TP forms to all those registered wholesalers and retailers who had recorded sale worth Rs. 1 crore or above during the year 2013. This facility has now been extended to all the registered traders from July, 2014 onwards due to which the traders have been saved from the undue visit to the offices of Excise & Taxation Department time and again as now they can avail this service at their homes or commercial complexes even on holidays. The Department has provided the facility of common log-in ID to the dealers so that they do not face any problem in filing or uploading various returns through different log-in IDs under various Acts. Besides, the State Government has waived- off the registration fee charged under Himachal Pradesh Value Added Act.
To give a big relief to the small & marginal traders, the State Government has passed revised VAT Act in the recent Vidhan Sabha session which provides exemption in VAT payments to all those traders, including 'dhabas', 'tea stalls', 'sweet shops' and 'chaat sellers' having annual business below Rs. 8 lakh. Prior to it this relaxation was applicable to the traders having annual business below rupees five lakh. This decision of the State Government has benfitted lakhs of traders in the State.
The trucks entering the State of Himachal from other States having a complete on-line declaration of carrying goods need not to stop at barrier. Earlier this relaxation was being provided for the trucks going to other States. This decision of the State Government has eased the process of goods transportation at barrier besides getting rid of unnecessary traffic hazard at the barriers.
The State Government has started group accident insurance plan to provide insurance cover to the small traders. Under the scheme, as many as 47000 small traders of the state having annual bussiness below Rs. 25 lakh would be provided free insurance cover for which the premium will be borne by the State Government.
The small dealers who have recorded inter State sale- purchase business upto Rs. 25 lakh during the current financial year have been brought under the ambit of one time tax payment under VAT Act as this facility was earlier limited to the traders doing such business within the State. Similarly, these traders are being brought under one-time group accident insurance cover during this financial year.
The State Government has reduced VAT percentage on body fabrication of buses and trucks from existing 13.75 to 5 percent so as to benefit the large number of traders. The exporters purchasing industrial input material within the State have been given exemption in goods tax on the production of required form. CGCR tax on packaged water bottles has been reduced so that this industry could compete with the industrial establishments in other States. In order to give boost to the industrialization in the State, the tax rate on raw material has been reduced from 5 percent to 4 percent, whereas the same has been lowered from 4 percent to 2 percent on the purchase from CSD to the army and ex-army personnel. The State Government has already revised the regulations to ensure time bound refund to VAT to the dealers.
The Government has developed a simple process of Deemed Assessment for the dealers which have saved them from passing through the regular evaluation process. Dealers are now getting information about deemed assessment through departmental website and SMS as well.
In order to boost the tourism activities in the State, the tax on fuel being purchased by the scheduled airlines has been reduced from 5 percent to 1 percent. The luxury tax on hotels and home-stays in the backward panchayats came into existence after Ist April, 2013 has been exempted for the period of 10 years.