Assocham for penalty waiver in initial phase of GST rollout


New Delhi: Ahead of the meeting of Empowered Committee of State FMs with industry chambers, Assocham on Friday said it will press for waiver of penalties on unintentional compliance errors which may occur during the initial phase of Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation.

The empowered committee of state Finance Ministers, headed by West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, will meet traders and industry chambers on August 30, to understand their concerns.

Seeking adequate time for preparation of the required compliance systems for the industry, Assocham in a statement said it will “bring forth before the Empowered Committee certain concerns and areas of uncertainties while pleading for waiver of any penalties on unintentional compliance errors which may occur during the transition period”.

It said while the industry wants the GST to be introduced at the earliest in view of its benefits to all stakeholders, the government and Empowered Committee (EC) should give adequate time for preparation for its smooth transition.

“Considering significant increase in documentary requirement and digitisation of the entire GST process, industry has to gear up and change their accounting and computer system after the GST Rules are released,” Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said.

The government wants to roll out GST from April 1, 2017. The new indirect tax regime will subsume service tax, excise duty and other local levies.

It said in such a mega tax reform, there will be requirement to issue clarification on various GST provisions and hence the government at Centre and the states should gear up for such facility.

“Moreover, the penal provisions for unintended mistake during the transition phase should not be applied as was done in the case of service tax for few years,” he said.

The chamber also highlighted concerns over the administrative machinery for implementation of the GST. While the tax base is same for Central GST and SGST, the administration by two authorities may lead to harassment if there is difference of opinion.

“It is recommended that there should be only one administrative authority. Centre and state can form joint team for such purpose,” Assocham said.

Besides, there is also concern about the multiple audits and investigations provided in the draft GST Bill spanning over a long period of 3 to 5 years whereas the entire GST process will be fully computerised and each transaction is required to be recorded in the monthly return.

“These excessive administrative provisions need to critically examine to avoid inspector raj which may be counter-productive to the objective of GST to provide ease of doing business,” it said.


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