'GST enforcement to be lenient initially for genuine mistakes'

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar addresses a press conference regarding Goods and Services Tax (GST) in New Delhi. Pic/AFP
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar addresses a press conference regarding Goods and Services Tax (GST) in New Delhi. Pic/AFP

The government announced on Thursday it will be lenient in enforcing penal laws for violations during the initial period of implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that comes into effect from July 1. "Our intention is to have a smooth landing of GST. Intention is not to harass everyone in the first month," Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adhia said here at a Town Hall session on GST.

The government will be very very kind to genuine mistakes, Adhia said. "There would be leniency but I cannot announce now. The rules provide that the GST Council can waive certain requirements for certain time," he added. The Secretary also said the Council can consider waiver of interest and penalty for six months.

Besides, GST will simplify the filing returns process and only one form a month needs to be filed by most tax payers. Of the 65 lakh tax payers who have registered with GST, 70-80 per cent are business-to-consumer (b2c) dealers who have to file just the total turnover return, Adhia said, adding that only business-to-business (b2b) entities have to give invoice-wise details.

The Council has allowed businesses a relaxation of time for the first two months (July-August) for filing their returns. These would also need to submit only a simple declaration initially, and would have time to furnish the exact "invoice-by-invoice data" later.

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