As state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar makes a pitch for the goal of having a uniform tax rate across India, sales tax chief blames consultants for creating ambiguity and confusion
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. (Right) Sales tax commissioner Rajiv Jalota
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told traders here that though there would be initial troubles in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, which will come into effect from July 1, the flexibility of the GST Act would ensure that there are no long-lasting hiccups.
Mungantiwar was addressing a summit organised by Assocham and CEAMA (Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association), in association with Videocon, at Yashwantrao Chavan Centre at Nariman Point yesterday. State sales tax commissioner Rajiv Jalota and MP Rajkumar Dhoot too interacted with a full house of traders and retailers.
Mungantiwar said some commodities would be taxed more than what they were in the past, but it wouldn't necessarily increase inflation. "As the GST regime evolves, we will see prices reducing, say, by two or three months after implementation. Our final goal is to have a uniform tax rate across the country, though, in the beginning, there will be different slabs," he said.
The minister added that GST would end tax terrorism unleashed by inspectors. "The officers, who earned their salaries because you paid taxes, would trouble you. This will stop once we roll out GST," he said.
Mungantiwar assured traders that they would not punished if the government was at fault in implementing it. "We will rectify deficiencies as we know them by ourselves or through you. But we won't punish you for our fault," the FM said.
"We will have to bear in mind that the GST regime is for making a better and prosperous India. Your honest contribution will definitely make a difference to a mission that all parties in the country have together taken up."
'Beware of consultants'
Jalota minced no words while lashing out at tax consultants. "You say there is ambiguity in GST. But let me tell you that the consultants are creating this ambiguity for obvious reasons. They want to extract more money from you. So, don't rely much on them. We will guide you on everything that you need to know or find difficult to execute," he said.
According to Jalota, the consultants were creating confusion over filing of monthly returns. "They say you need to file three returns every month, but the fact is that it is one return split into three parts," the commissioner said, adding that he would depute a deputy commissioner of sales tax exclusively for guiding traders. Jalota underlined an encouraging response from taxpayers. He said that 95% of the total registered (VAT/sales tax) clients had already taken their GST registration numbers, of which 92% had activated their accounts well in advance.
GST: Need to know
The country will have a single indirect tax regime instead of 17 various taxes that are collected by the Centre and states. The Centre and states will share collections. The GST Council launched its official web portal www.gstcouncil.gov.in yesterday. Information on relevant SGST/CGST/IGST laws (i.e. Acts, Rules, notifications, circulars, etc.), and tax rates among other data will be available on the portal.