As part of its endeavour to usher in tax reforms and ensure greater tax compliance, the Orissa government has decided to raise the exemption limit of professional tax from the existing Rs 60,000 to Rs 160,000 per annum.
Besides, it has decided to constitute an advance ruling authority for effecting amendments in the Value Added Tax Act for overcoming ambiguities in the Act. A sales tax tribunal will be set up for the settlement of cases pertaining to payment of the sales tax and the threshold limit for registration has been raised from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. These decisions were taken at the meeting of the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. For ministers, MPs and MLAs, the professional tax will be charged at the rate of Rs 125 per month for an income ranging from Rs 160000-Rs 300,000 while for income exceeding Rs 3 lakh, the tax will be Rs 200 per month for the first 11 months and Rs 300 for the last month of a financial year.
Similarly, for legal practitioners, including solicitors and notaries, the professional tax has been pegged at Rs 1500 per annum for the income ranging from Rs 150,000-Rs 300,000 whereas for income exceeding Rs 3 lakh, the tax has been fixed at Rs 1500 per annum.
The professional tax for the medical fraternity consisting of doctors (allopathic, homeopathic and ayurvedic) and paramedical staff like technicians and nurses has been pegged at Rs 1500 per annum for income in the range of Rs 160,000-Rs 300,00 whereas those with an income of over Rs 3 lakh per annum will have to pay Rs 2500 per annum.
The revision in professional tax limits would also apply to contractors, architects, postal agents, insurance agents, engineers, chartered accountants and cost accountants.
Apart from setting the tone for tax reforms, the Cabinet also decided to allot 91.465 ares of land at Sijua and Ranasinghpur on the outskirts of the city for the proposed centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The land will be allotted to AIIMS at the rate of one rupee per acre. The state health and family welfare department will be given Rs 29.32 crore within two weeks for the AIIMS project. Of the total amount, land cost comes to Rs 21.09 crore while the remaining Rs 9.23 crore will be for external infrastructure for the premier medical centre.
The Cabinet also gave the nod for setting up of evening courts for expeditious trial of the pending petty cases. Around Rs 83 crore has been earmarked in the 13th Finance Commission for the establishment of these courts.