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Unreported stock detected at State bonded houses
Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, May 30 - A fresh verification of the stocks in the wholesale liquor warehouses in the State is set to earn the excise department an additional revenue of Rs 100 crore which otherwise would have been lost.

The State government had enforced new excise rules from September 1, 2016, replacing those enacted in 1945.

According to the new rules, taxes – ad valorem and VAT – will have to be collected from the bonded warehouses instead of the retailers. The prepaid system of tax was put in place to check tax evasion and earn more revenue.

Soon after the new rules were enacted, a verification of the stocks was carried out in the bonded warehouses. As per the initial verification, the total taxes to be paid by the bonded houses for the existing stock were around Rs 367 crore (ad valorem Rs 222.07 crore and VAT Rs 145 crore).

However, during the first verification the bonded warehouses reported large quantities of “unsaleable” stock – those expired or unfit for consumption – which raised doubts in the excise commissionerate here.

Sources said the bonded houses sought permission to destroy the unsaleable stock, but the commissionerate imposed a blanket ban on destruction of any stock. Teams were formed for a fresh verification of the stock in the 72 bonded houses.

“The stocks were reverified and chemical tests conducted on the stocks which were earlier reported to be unfit for consumption. The fresh verification detected additional saleable stock in the warehouses whose taxes would add up to over Rs 100 crore – ad valorem of Rs 47 crore and VAT of Rs 57 crore,” sources said.

It is not clear if the bonded warehouses tried to conceal the actual stock or if there was laxity on the part of the teams which conducted the first verification.

The excise department has now begun giving demand notices to the bonded warehouses to realize the unpaid taxes.

Excise is one of the major sources of income for the Assam government, besides transport, forest, mines and mineral.

Revenue earned by the department has gone up from Rs 799.53 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 966.32 crore last year. The provisional revenue figures for the department in the year 2017-18 is around Rs 1,138 crore.

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