Luxury tax collector to expand net

He is the man who ensures your comfort and value for money in luxury hotels, cinema halls and spas. Not to forget his role of a liquor watchdog who prevents entry of illicit booze into the city and preventing underage people being served drinks in pubs.

Neeraj Semwal is the commissioner, excise and entertainment and luxury tax in the Delhi government who is now on a mission to expand the luxury tax net. “We are conducting large scale surveys to check if the luxury tax can be expanded, ”said the 

2003 batch Indian Administrative Service officer. Some chains of Spas have been issued notices as we found they were not registered with us, he said. Semwal’s team of 20 inspectors spread out in the field and check the balance sheets of outlets to check if they qualify to pay luxury tax. 

“Our initial findings indicate that some outlets tend to hold back information to avoid coming into the tax net,” he said.

All hotels which charge Rs 750 per room per day or gymns, spas and banquets with annual turnover of over Rs 5 lakh are supposed to pay luxury tax. There are about 70 small hotels and 700-800 small spas which are suspected to be still out of the luxury tax net.

The excise intelligence bureau, a crucial part of Semwal’s department, also collects information of evasion of taxes or sale of liquor illegally brought in from other states. In 2013-14, the bureau seized 686 cases of liquor, arrested 753 people and seized 351 vehicles involved in illegal liquor trade and smuggling.

We are committed to surpass the target of last year’s collect of excise tax on liquor which stood at Rs 3,150 crore, he said. The luxury tax collection in 2013-14 stood at Rs 306.75 crore and all efforts are being made to increase it this year, he said.

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