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Govt tightens noose on Capital's restaurants
December, 11th 2015

On Thursday, a vegetable cheese dosa and chilly paneer dry worth Rs.385 (excluding taxes) were ordered at 4 p.m. at Sagar Ratna’s Malviya Nagar branch. But, sitting almost 14 km away, officials at Trade and Taxes headquarters, near ITO, knew of each transaction made during the day.

In a move to boost revenue and bring in transparency, Delhi government’s value added tax (VAT) department has developed a software to help officials to know of every transaction that takes place in a restaurant, something on the lines of a publishing business. Just as every publisher knows of each book sold, officials will get to know of daily sales. As a pilot project, the software has been integrated with 17 branches of Sagar Ratna in Delhi and every transaction made is automatically updated in the VAT department’s system. Soon, the software will be linked with the system of every restaurant in Delhi.

“It is a pilot project and will be made mandatory for all restaurants to sync their system with the VAT department,” said SS Yadav, VAT commissioner.

Officials say that restaurants charge VAT at 12.5 per cent from customers but some of them suppress their sales figures to pay less tax to the government. “Instead of resorting to surprise checks and raids, our officials sitting in office can monitor daily sales,” Yadav said. The department is tightening the noose on restaurants as they are one of the major sources of revenue for the VAT department. The department has a target of VAT collection of Rs.24,000 crore to achieve by March 31 and till date the department has collected about Rs.13,000 crore.

Also an app, DVAT BILL, has been developed for consumers and they can directly share their bill details with the government. “Consumers pay the taxes but it may not necessarily be coming to the government. Now, through this app, people can track their money,” said Mr Yadav. To bring in transparency, every customer can know how much of their money went to the government. People using the app can click a picture of their bill with basic details such as the name of the restaurant and the TIN mentioned on the bills, and it will be automatically updated in the VAT department’s system. “People will then know the exact amount that reached the government.” Besides this, it will help the department to verify if all transactions are computerised and keep a check on fake or kachha bills, one of the most common ways adopted to evade taxes. The app is a part of the “Bill banwaao Inaam Paao” scheme, in which one per cent of those uploading the pictures of their bills will get a reward of double the bill amount through a lucky draw. That means one out 100 people will be rewarded with double the amount mentioned in pictures of invoices that he/she uploads on the app.

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