Gujarat: Tax exemption announced for buses of educational institutes from April to Dec

The state government clarified that the exemption will be applicable only after verification that such buses have not been used for commercial or any other purpose during the aforesaid period.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani Monday announced an exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax for vehicles registered before April 1, 2017 in the names of schools, colleges and other educational institutions, from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

The decision was taken after education institutions submitted representations seeking tax exemption for the said period as schools remained closed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, for buses registered in the names of owners before April 1, 2017, the Motor Vehicles Tax will be charged at the rate of Rs 200 per seat annually.

The state government clarified that the exemption will be applicable only after verification that such buses have not been used for commercial or any other purpose during the aforesaid period.

After this relief was announced, the schools as well as transporters questioned the basis of such an exemption as most of the buses are not owned by the education institutes.

“It is very rare that schools or education institutes have the ownership of these vehicles as majority of them have outsourced to transporters. Schools are still able to bear the costs with 75 per cent of the tuition fee they are charging but with zero per cent revenue for transporters, it is a tough for them to survive,” said Manan Choksi, president of Association of Progressive Schools (AOPS) and director of Udgam School for Children and Zebar School for Children.

Virbhadra Chauhan, who runs Urban Transport, said, “Whoever has taken this decision has not considered all the aspects. What about vehicles registered after April 2017 and why only for vehicles registered under the schools. It is a known fact that in most of these cases these vehicles are operated by contractual transporters. In a way the state government has offered a relief to schools only and not the transporters. It should be given irrespective of the owenership.”

Further questioning the decision, Chauhan said, “And who will do the verification whether these are used or not.”

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