The government lost Rs 71,255 crore (Rs 712.55 billion) on tax rebates and exemptions awarded to corporates and non-corporates in the 2008-09 fiscal, Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam told Rajya Sabha.
"The loss incurred by the government for giving tax rebates and exemption in financial taxes or other kinds of assistance to the corporate and non-corporate firms during 2008-09 is estimated at Rs 66,901 crore (Rs 669.01 billion) and Rs 4,354 crore (Rs 43.54 billion) respectively," Palanimanickam said in a written reply.
The loss incurred by the government for similar concessions in previous years stood at Rs 1,00,256 crore (Rs 1002.56 billion) in 2007-08, Rs 77,177 crore (Rs 771.77 billion) in year 2006-07 and Rs 49,800 crore (Rs 498 billion) in 2005-06, the minister said. The various exemptions and deductions, he said, relate to infrastructure development, regional development, promotion of exports and certain industries, among others.
On a different query on Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tobacco products, Palanimanickam said, "There is a broad understanding between the Centre and states to bring tobacco products under the purview of GST."
However, as far as the GST rate and additional duties or cess are concerned on tobacco products, which fall under the demerit or sinful goods, the minister said, "The details have not been worked out."
On whether the government plans to bring out a simple tax form, Palanimanickam said, "The government is bringing out a new, two-page annexure-less Saral-II form. Being simple, it would be easy for taxpayers to fill up the form."