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M A I L B A G

Service tax on rental income

Under the Finance Act 2007, the Centre has brought rental income under the purview of service tax, without considering the ground realities and the difficulties.

Stretching the definition of “service”, the Finance Act 2007, vide its notification No.23/2007, has brought rental income under the service tax net making a charge of 12.36 per cent on it. A thresh-hold of aggregate of Rs 8 lakh is provided for a landlord to fall under the ambit of the service provider.

This tax is to be collected by him from the tenant and pay to the exchequer. This would be over and above the house tax, income tax, ground rent and other taxes that are already being charged on the rental income. Now there may be instances wherein the landlord has several tenants who are individually paying minor rents but when aggregated exceed the thresh-hold limit of Rs 8 lakh in the hands of the landlord bringing him into the ambit of  service tax.


 

For all purposes, none of these small tenants would pay the additional amount in the shape of service tax. The entire burden would fall on the landlord. What would he be left with at the end of the day considering that he is also liable to pay house tax, income tax, ground rent and other taxes?

Further, consider the example of another landlord who has just one tenant paying, say, Rs 65,000 a month as rent. In such a case, the landlord would not fall in the ambit of service tax (the total annual rent being less than Rs 8 lakh) nor the tenant would have to pay any service tax.

The situation seems anomalous when in one case petty tenants are being charged service tax whereas in the other a tenant paying substantial 
rent is being absolved of the liability.

M.S. ANAND,Advocate, Amritsar

Cement prices

The MRTPC has become suspicious of cement companies having built a cartel and has ordered investigation into business practices of 14 leading manufacturers. This baffles me! Is the MRTP just suspicious? The world knows that there exists a cartel of them and this is the reason behind the steep rise in the prices of cement.

Apparently, the common man doesn’t know that the companies selling PPC at Rs 335 a bag in the market supply the same to the government at about Rs 100 less a bag. Who would believe that these companies supply cement to government at a loss? This one example shows the huge profit earned by the companies and the way the common man is being looted.

It is time cement prices were brought back to Rs 135 a bag and let the common man feel some relief.

JAGVIR GOYAL, Patiala

PSEB’s ways

The editorial “Power clash: Need to tame PSEB” is a timely note to check mismanagement in the PSEB. While it has recorded a loss of Rs 1900 crore, Haryana is making profit due to outsourcing the control of distribution and revenue collection.

In Haryana, bills along with fines are collected promptly. But the functioning of the PSEB is cause for worry. The loss of 1, 63, 000 MW of power i.e. loss of about Rs 500 crore goes to the discredit of the PSEB. In the last five years, no new generation had been planned. The only hydroelectric project, with an installed capacity of 168 MW i.e. Shahpurkandi project on the Ranjit Sagar Dam could be started, the reason better known to the state government.

S. K. MITTAL, Panchkula

 

Include Nawanshahr too

The National Horticulture Mission has allotted funds to Punjab’s Directorate of Horticulture to help farmers promote horticulture in the selected districts of the state. Under the scheme, the state has been divided into three clusters.

The scheme covers plantation of selected fruit crops, infrastructure and development, nursery establishment, new gardens including vegetable crops, flowers, spices and aromatic plants and facilities for protective cultivation.

Though the scheme is promising, it is restricted to financially better off districts only. Why Nawanshahr district has been ignored? This is relatively a new district carved out of the erstwhile Jalandhar district and needs more attention for growth and development.

There is hardly any industry in Nawanshahr district. Its soil is fertile and productive and climate suitable for growing horticulture and vegetable crops. It needs special attention so that it stands at par with other districts in the state. The Directorate of Horticulture should include Nawanshahr also in one of the clusters to help it grow and flourish.

Dr G. DEV, Nawanshahr

Drop at Chandigarh

Private buses plying between Ludhiana, Amritsar, Pathankot and Mohali pick up Chandigarh-bound passengers whereas these buses have permits up to the Mohali bus stand only. Some bus operators display the Chandigarh board, instead of Mohali, only to attract passengers.

At Kharar, the conductors of these buses ask Chandigarh-bound passengers to alight and direct them to board another bus for Chandigarh. It’s not at alll convenient for ladies, children and senior citizens to shift to another bus with their luggage. The authorities concerned showed look into the matter and save the passengers from the harassment by private bus operators.

SUKHDEV SINGH MINHAS,Mohali

Stop on the way

The driver and conductor of the Baijnath-Amritsar bus (which leaves Baijnath at 4.15 a.m.) don’t stop it on the way. This is causing inconvenience to passengers like myself whose house is near the National Highway. We find it difficult to go to the bus stand. I regularly go to Jassor from Palampur, which is a long route. But the driver does not stop it on the way on the main road.

Dr RANJAN MALHOTRA,Palampur

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