Dozens of brick kilns evade tax

Mahendranagar, November 8:

More than two-dozen kilns based in Kanchanpur district, have not paid tax for the past 14 years. But these kilns continue to collect due tax amount from customers.

According to statistics made available by the Internal Revenue Office (IRO), Kanchanpur, 24 kilns in the district have not paid tax since 1990-91. Some factories are paying very small amounts of tax, while most kilns are cheating on the government. According to the office, kilns have to pay Rs 6,489,680 in total to government as tax.

Rajendra Hamal, chief of the office said, “We tried many times to collect the dues without any results.” Some days back, the revenue office had published a notice in local newspapers urging the defaulters to pay up within fifteen days. But kilns have neither paid the tax amount nor any fine, Hamal said.

“We sent letters and published notices many times, warning the kilns. But the factories showed no interest to pay up the balance,” Hamal said. Some of the kilns are not even registered with tax office. According to Small and Cottage Industries office, by mid-July, 58 kilns had renewed their registrations. Out of these, 37 are operating right now. Out of these 37, only 25 are registered with the industrial tax office. Others factories are running illegally and continue to cheat on tax. Regarding the issue, Internal Revenue Office has not initiated any process to punish the illegally-run factories.

Each kiln is producing about 500,000 to a million bricks at a time. The kilns remain closed for four months during the monsoon season every year.

According to statistics, about 62.5 million to 175 million bricks are being produced annually in Kanchanpur district. Kiln owners are earning upto two rupees profit on each brick sold. “Owners feel paying tax is not favourable because for half of the year, kilns remain closed,” said Ramesh Chandra Joshi, vice-president of Kanchanpur branch of FNCCI.

Hem Bikram Thapa, owner of Jagadamba Kiln Industry said, “We are ready to pay all our dues at once if the government reduces the present tax rate. The government has applied the same tax rate for Capital-based Chinese Kilns as well as others. Chinese kilns run throughout the year but our factories runs only half the year, so we are not paying tax.”

The total invest on producing a brick is only 1.75 paisa to 2.50 paisa, but kilns sell each brick for 3.50 paisa.

Kilns have recently been affected adversely due to conflict in the nation.

“Tax can not be collected unless government initiates effective steps. The tax rate has been brought down this year in comparison to previous years, yet the kilns do not pay tax,” said Hamal.