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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

GST blunder

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 11:53
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The government's implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) touted as 'One Nation, One Tax' regime pan India is already facing rough weather because of the fact that it has added to the woes of the traders and industrialists in the country instead of being a facilitator. The tall claims of the government on collection of the taxes in the first month of its implementation in July, 2017 appear to be falling flat if the figures released by the authorities are to be believed. The claims of the union finance minister Arun Jaitley that GST collections for the first month since July 1, 2017 touching Rs 95,000 crore with only 75 percent businessmen filing their return appear to be headed for a goof up. The recent figures released after allowing extended deadline for filing of returns show that Rs 65,000 crore are to refunded to the businessmen and industrialists because they fall in different categories of trading sector where exemptions have been granted to them. Since confusion is prevailing all around on these issues, the real time collections of the central government of the GST might amount to Rs 30,000 crore only besides the collections which might come from the rest of the 25 percent assesses, who are yet to file their returns and deposit the tax amount. Now, a fresh announcement of the centre that all the returns of businessmen having done business in excess of Rs one crore will be scrutinized before the refund is allowed. As per the rough estimates, at least Rs 13,000 crore belonging to small and medium traders will be held up with the government for the next few months till a final decision is taken to release the refund amount. The delay in refunds will further add to the woes of the business, who have a small amount of capital for conducting business and purchase of material for carrying on their trade. The process might delay refund and capital release of the businessmen further contributing to slowdown in the economic activity. Apart from what has happened over the past one year, this might be the second biggest goof up of the NDA regime after the demonetization announced in November last year that contributed in big way in slowing down the economy of the country. In fact, the slowdown has been unprecedented in the history of post-independence India bringing down the economic growth rate to Zero level if real calculations of the experts are taken into consideration. Some of the experts are very right in observing that the economic slowdown has been because of the ST implementation also because of the fact that it has created more confusion in the markets instead of making a smooth facilitator for the business houses in the country. Confusion is reigning supreme if the businessmen airing their problems on filing of returns to submission of the return copies and depositing their money into state exchequer are to be believed. Majority of the businessmen have not been able to understand the nitty-gritty of the GST regime and rates of taxes to be calculated on each and every item sold by them to the consumers. The Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries, who are considered to be experts in this process are already short in supply and in fact are spending more time in sorting out the problems of the traders just for filing the GST returns. It is unfortunate that these professionals are finding it difficult to figure out the details of the tax regime, the fate of the average businessmen in understanding the GST rollout and its implementation through the select advertisements in newspapers and electronic media can be very well imagined. Apart from these problems, the digital infra-structure of the central government for online filing of returns has already collapsed at least half a dozen times in the past few weeks forcing the businessmen to run for cover. Moreover, many businessmen operating in rural and far flung areas, estimated to be around half of the assesses do not enjoy good internet connectivity adding to their problems as the deadline approaches and is already over when they are trying their best to file their returns. It is sad state of affairs that the deadline has been extended but the digital India, which has already failed people, was not even ready to cope up with the rush of the people particularly on GST issue. 


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