The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation appealed to the government not to target its members for higher advance tax.
In a letter faxed to Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, the Federation has requested him to hold back the revenue department officials from going after jewellers across the country for payment of enhanced advance taxes based on last fiscal year earnings.
Haresh Soni, Chairman, GJF, told Business Line: “We have received complaints from our members particularly from Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Gujarat claiming that the income tax department is pressurising them to match their last year’s advance tax payment so that the department can at least reach close to the target set by the government.”
It is difficult to pay advance taxes at the rate of last financial year’s income since the overall business of gold jewellery trade is down by 40 per cent, he said.
“We want the department to consider the advance tax payment on realistic figures as declared by member assesses. We are willingly to pay the taxes based on our declared income for the year,” said Soni.
The government's gold control rule has resulted in lower than expected turnover by the Indian gems and jewellery industry and the insistence of additional payment of advance taxes by revenue officials has impacted the overall morale of the business very badly amid a period of gloom on the economic front, he said.
The gem and jewellery contribution to overall export is expected to fall to 15 per cent this year compared to 17-18 per cent achieved last fiscal. The domestic jewellery trade is pegged at ?2.5 lakh crore, which is down by about 30-40 per cent, said Soni.
Advance tax is a system of staggered payment of income-tax over four quarters, and is generally considered as a barometer of a company’s performance during a quarter.
The government has restricted import of gold in a bid to bridge the widening current account deficit. This has impacted the availability of gold at reasonable cost for jewellery makers and dampened the sentiment of jewellery buyers in most quarters of the financial year.