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Only state-run refineries to get tax holidays
June, 05th 2008

Finance Ministry has restricted tax holidays to only new refineries run by public sector firms and has barred units under construction by private sector companies like Essar Oil from the benefit.

Finance Ministry on May 30 notified eight projects like Indian Oil's Paradip refinery, HPCL-Mittal's Bhatinda unit and Bharat Petroleum's Bina plant for extending seven-year holiday from payment of income tax.

Besides 15 million tons Paradip refinery, 6 million tons Bina project and 9 million tons Bhatinda unit, it also listed Oil and Natural Gas Corp's 3,000 barrels per day and 1,500 bpd mini-refineries at Gandhar in Gujarat and Tatipaka in Andhra Pradesh, official sources said.

Other projects eligible for tax breaks include Phase-III expansion of Mangalore refinery by 5.31 million tons, 7.5 million tons capacity new Visakh refinery expansion of Hindustan Petroleum, and 3 million tons capacity expansion of IOC's Panipat refinery.

The seven-year income tax holiday to refineries will be available before March 2012 only if they are owned by public sector company or built by companies where state-run firms have 49 per cent stake.

For the refineries to be eligible for the tax sops they should have been notified before May 31, 2008 and only eight projects have been notified, sources said.

These conditions have kept out refineries planned by Essar Oil at Vadinar in Gujarat, Nagarjuna Oil at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Cals Refineries at Haldia in West Bengal out of the tax benefit purview as they neither have public sector equity nor have been notified.

Sources said even though work on private sector refineries began much before the sunset clause was introduced, the Finance Ministry has ignored their cause.

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