With the passing of year 2018, the trading community of the Country hopes a sustained, simplified and rationalized Goods & Services Tax (GST) in year 2019 and if focus of both Central & State Governments is circled around mitigating the genuine difficulties of the traders, the GST will prove to be trader friendly taxation system- hoped the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). However, to encourage more and more traders to adopt GST Taxation system, it will be more appropriate if certain tax benefits in GST are given to traders for collecting tax revenue-added CAIT.
CAIT National President ,Mr B C Bhartia and Secretary General, Mr. Praveen Khandelwal while summarizing the year long events in GST said that year 2018 remained normal for the trading community though being the initial year, traders across Country faced many difficulties including glitches in the GST portal, irrational classification of goods in different tax slabs, complicated tax procedure, non availability of Refunds from the tax authorities, complicated Return Forms etc.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr Khandelwal further said that new indirect tax regime is good in one sense for the traders as it relives them from onerous task of filing too many papers, complying various taxes, interaction with Department officials and also rescuing them from decades old clutches of Inspectors. However, only 35% of the trading community having computers is a major compliance issue. Further, very less awareness about GST Law, Rules & Regulations among trading community is a big challenge.which need to be looked into in order to generate more voluntary compliance of GST in the Country.
They also said that since GST is an indirect tax regime, the final tax has to be paid by the Consumer and undoubtedly traders are the only one in contact with the consumers and as such major responsibility of collecting tax is devolved upon the traders and they have a major role to play for a successful GST tax regime. As such, the support of Trade Associations across the Country is crucial to penetrate GST down the line. It is suggested that a nationwide awareness campaign should be launched by the Govt with support of trade associations all over the Country. At each District level a GST Joint Committee should be constituted having officials and trade leaders as part of that Committee. Subsidy should be provided by the Government to empower the traders with computerization in order to ensure better compliance.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr Khandelwal hoped that proposed single page return will enable the traders to file return on their own and need not be dependent upon Chartered Accountant or Tax Consultant. It will encourage more and better compliance and revenue base will increase tremendously. The GST has certainly formalize the economy to an extent. If GST procedures are made simple and traders are not unnecessarily harassed or victimized, it will inculcate a confidence among the trading community about GST and more and more people will come under formal economy. There are about 7 crore small businesses in the Country and approximately half of it can be brought under GST, if it is a trader friendly tax regime.