FM: No rollback of excise duty on jewellery, no physical verification

FM: No rollback of excise duty on jewellery, no physical verification

FM: No rollback of excise duty on jewellery, no physical verification
With jewellers fearing a knock on the doors by the taxmen following the imposition of a new central excise duty, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday assured them that there would be no physical verification and the excise duty would be calculated on the basis of their VAT returns.

Refusing to rollback the 1% excise duty levied on gold ornaments, Jaitley said it would not affect the small businessmen and artisans, as the duty would be collected from those whose last year’s turnover was Rs 12 crore, and up to Rs 6 crore in this financial year.

“It would be applicable to only large chains and corporate jewellers. Luxury items have to be taxed. When things used by common people were taxed, how can luxury items be out of its ambit for so long,” he said, responding to a calling attention motion, moved by Congress leader Raj Babbar.

“If excise officials or men dressed in Khaki harass anyone, jewellers need to click a snap on their mobile and send it to me. There will be no physical verification. The excise would be collected on the basis of VAT returns, which are self-certified,” he said, countering the concerns of the opposition leaders, who feared the move would allow tax inspectors to harass the gold traders.

A committee has been set up under the chairmanship of former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahiri to address the concerns of jewellers. The panel is to have three representatives from the traders, but the members are yet to be nominated by them due to multiplicity of associations.

Several jewellers organisations are on the strike for the last one and half months seeking a rollback of the excise duty. They approached many political leaders including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take up their cause.

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