In a span of all most 4 years of GST implementation in India, the GST tax system has emerged as a most complicated taxation system and in fact now it is being called as “Ghano Saro Litigation Tax” much differ from Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of a Good & Simple Tax and ease of doing business in the Country. Almost 950 amendments made so far in GST rules in four years itself speaks that even the GST Council is not confident about the stability of the system sure but it expects traders to comply timely the provisions of GST in a seamless manner or else face suspension of GST Registration, denial of input credit, penalty, interests and prosecution.In such a dismal backdrop, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has given a call of Bharat Vyapar Bandh on 26th February which is getting spontaneous support from Trade Associations of the Country urging the Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and the GST Council for an overall review of the GST and make it simplified and rationalised.
CAIT National President Shri B C Bhartia & Secretary General Mr Praveen Khandelwal while addressing a Press Conference today at New Delhi said that GST Council always boast that GST is a simplified taxation system. If it is really so, we call upon Finance Ministers of all States who are the members of GST Council to make an attempt at public platform for filing the GST Return Form without any external support, the truth will come out about complications of GST tax system”. We are sure that being in a practical mode, they will realise the complexity of the GST. Under such a scenario, how can they expect traders to fill correct returns and make all compliances within stipulated time. Recent various provisions made in GST rules are draconian, arbitrary and giving unfettered powers to officials, flouting principles of natural justice, denial of issuing show cause notice or opportunity for hearing before taking action which has irked the traders of the Country. It is astonishing that under governance of PM Modi who himself is champion for growth of small business in the Country, how such deterrent and unjustified provisions were included as a part of GST rules which will prove to be regressive.
Over the globe GST in India is not only highest tax rates having multiple tax slabs but continued with glitches in GST portal, non dependable internet connectivity,the continuous increase in compliance burden are the major fundamental lacunae. Fundamental right to claim the eligible input credit can not be restricted by limitation of time..The consistent policy rollbacks and amendments, powered by the glitchy GSTN Network, have enabled massive tax evasion. However, we stand with GST Council and the tax Department for launching a campaign to nab tax evaders and the people engaged in forge bills. We are of the considered opinion that stern action and exemplary punishment should be prescribed for such people but it has to be ensured that by virtue of such powers, the honest traders should not face any harassment or victimisation. However, it has been noticed that though quite a few persons have been caught for billing scam but at the same time there are several cases where small traders have been victimised.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that the current tax base of GST and obtaining revenue thereof is highly under-rated. There is a wide scope of widening the tax base and generation of more revenue to Central and State Government but to attain this simplification and easy compliance of GST is much required. We are of the view that GST is the best taxation system however keeping it away from the basic fundamentals, distortions and disparities that exist in the system, trust deficit between Government and the business community, confusing tax slabs, wrong placement of goods under different tax rates, are the key reasons for the complications in GST. The CAIT was in forefront for implementation of GST in India and with the same spirit trade associations across Country are willing to work with the Government for widening the tax base and generation of revenue but it can happen only when the system is rationalised. There has to be a distinction between “error” and “evasion”. Habitual offenders and wilful defaulters should not be spared but at the same time encouragement should be given to honest and law abiding people.
Spelling out the protest program, both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that from 16th February and till 20th February, trade associations across Country will submit memorandum to Chief Minister, Finance Minister, Principal Secretary, Finance, GST Commissioner and District Collector of all districts in different States. On 22nd February, “traders march” will be taken out in commercial markets across the Country, from 21st February to 25th February, announcements through PA system will be made in all markets about the Bharat Vyapar Bandh, on 25th February an “open competition for filling the GST Return Form” will be organised publicly among Traders,Chartered Accountants, Tax Consultants and retired Government officials for filing GST Return Form in shortest time. On 26th February, all commercial markets across the Country will remain closed and “protest dharna” will be organised in different cities of all States demanding the Central Government, State Governments and GST Council to keep in abeyance the draconian provisions of GST and call for a review of GST tax system, GST tax slabs and make it a simplified and rationalised tax system to the extent that even an ordinary trader can easily comply with the provisions of GST . The “voluntary compliance” is the key for a successful GST regime