Eye on revenue, state to ‘count’ high-selling dhabas as restaurants

With an eye on boosting its revenue collection, the Punjab excise and taxation department now wants to treat all such small eateries and dhabas as restaurants which have an annual turnover of Rs 1 crore. Once converted into restaurants in the books of the department, the eateries will have to shell out 14-30 per cent as tax on the actual sales recorded.

"The dhabas now boast of air-conditioned halls. They charge at par with the restaurants and are doing brisk business. So, why not pay the tax on the actual sales," excise and taxation commissioner A Venuprasad said.

As of now the dhabas pay a lumpsum tax ranging from Rs 15,000to Rs 1.75 lakh per annum based on their sales.

To assess the actual sales at the dhabas, Venuprasad has asked the excise officials to visit the eateries in person so that those with a high turnover could be converted into restaurants in department's ledgers.

However, the dhaba owners seem to be a hard nut to crack as they are not allowing the officers to visit their premises. They had shut down the markets on November 10 when the excise teams had gone to inspect the eateries near Reikhi Cinema Chowk, which is a hub of dhabas, in Ludhiana.

The conversion entails big bucks revenue for the excise as it has short-listed atleast 15 eateries with more than Rs 1 crore per annum turnover in Ludhiana city alone. These include the the famous Chicken Corner and even the veg-desi ghee AC dhabhas. Assistant excise and taxation commissioner Jaskarkan Brar said, "There are a few dhabas that make sales of more than Rs 2 lakh per day."

It may be mentioned that as of now the dhabas pay Rs 10,000 per annum in tax if they have annual sales of less than Rs 5 lakhs. Those with sales between Rs 5 to Rs 15 lakhs per annum need to pay Rs 15,000 as tax. Fore dhabas with sales between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh it is Rs 40,000 while those with ones having sales between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore pay Rs 75,000 lumpsum tax.

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