This will break our back: Professionals protest more tax burden

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s decision to levy professional tax as well as its plan to increase property tax on commercial properties apart from one per cent hike in property transfer tax has riled people who are already affected in the wake of coronavirus crisis.

Ashok Kumar, an advocate at south Delhi’s Saket courts, asserted: “These steps will break the back of the common man. Many are already finding it tough to make both ends meet. This is simply wrong.”

While the SDMC hopes to garner a whopping Rs 170 crore through the hiked taxes levied on people living in its jurisdiction, people aren’t convinced it is the right time.

While efforts have been afoot for many years now to introduce professional tax, it was shelved every time in the face of political opposition.

The professional tax will make the salaried class and self-employed persons like Ashok rework their monthly budgets. Apart from lawyers, doctors, CAs, architects and other self-employed professionals will come under its ambit.

Feroze Khan, an architect, objected to the timing of this additional financial burden. “The pandemic has broken us financially. How much profit are we making in this pandemic? Do they ver think?” he asked.

Dr JP Singh, a medical professional, said: “The coronavirus situation is far from control. This tax is a bad news for so many professional in these trying times.”

Salaried professionals with monthly incomes between Rs 50,001 and Rs 75,000 will have to pay Rs 100 every month. It will increase to Rs 150 per month for those earning between Rs 75,001 and Rs 1 lakh. Those earning above one lakh rupees every month will be required to pay Rs 200 per month. Even those who earn in south Delhi but stay in suburbs like Noida and Gurugram will also come under the tax ambit.

For all the self-employed people like Dr JP Singh and Feroze Khan, income tax returns will be the basis for determining how much they need to pay as professional tax.

Additionally, the 1 per cent increase in tax on property transfer in south Delhi is likely, which will further complicate matters for many at a time when the real estate demands have plunged.

Irfan Alvi, who too practices law in the Saket courts, said: “It is just another tax that we will have to pay, over and above an array of taxes we already pay. It will hit us heavily at a time when all professionals are going through a rough patch financially.”

However, the SDMC seems to be in no mood to reconsider its decision. With other two municipal corporations too thinking of replicating the idea in their jurisdictions, financial woes of capital’s salaried class and self-employed professionals seem to be getting worse amid the pandemic.