Dealers of unbranded food or drink (except star hotels recognised by the Tourism Department) are offered five per cent tax rebate.
But while assessing the tax liabilities of Chocko Choza’s baked goods sold without any independent registered brand or mark, the assessing officer treated them as “branded goods” resulting in them losing the rebate.
When the challenge moved by Chocko Choza, a bakery that has an outlet in Coimbatore came for hearing, the first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy decided to club similar petitions moved by Annapoorna.
Though other counsels appraised the bench that there were similar cases by Saravana Bhavan, Annapoorna and Murugan Idli that are pending considerations, the bench noted that it was only concerned with the vires issue and others can be dealt on merit.
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Appearing for Chocko Choza, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted that as per the tax authority, any goods sold by a restaurant or shop would be treated as branded even if the goods does not have its own registered brand, name, protection or identification.
But an unbranded cake sold by a bakery cannot be viewed in the same way that of a trademarked ‘McVeggie’ burger when it comes to taxation, the senior counsel contended, adding if the Act was stretched in such a fashion then every single good would be a branded good.
The plea has been posted for further hearing to November 18.