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Tax sops to SEZs to cost over Rs 1000 bn: FM
November, 27th 2006

Tax holidays to Special Economic Zones are estimated to lead to a revenue loss of over Rs 1000 billion by 2009-10, the Parliament was informed.

Of the estimated revenue loss of Rs 1026.21 bn over the period of 2006-07 to 2009-10, the loss on account of direct taxes is estimated to be Rs 537.40 bn and on account of indirect taxes at Rs 488.81 bn, Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam told Lok Sabha in a written reply.

To the extent that tax concessions to units in SEZs erode the legally defined tax base, the revenue loss is permanent, he said.

To another question, he said the reported increase in prices of cement cannot be attributed to excise duty as there has been no change in the rate of the levy since March 1, 2003 except for imposition of education cess.

At present, the general rate of basic excise duty on cement is Rs 400 per metric tonne, he said, adding cement is a decontrolled commodity and the prices are determined by market forces.

Replying to another question, Palanimanickam said Income Tax Employees Federation and Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association have opposed outsourcing the job of accepting income tax returns to post offices.

It has been decided to process these returns centrally, he said, adding it would facilitate issue of refunds quickly.

As many as 4,12,278 tax returns have been received through the post offices in the country up to October 31 this year, he said.

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