Single-rate GST should be ultimate goal: Centre



  • Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said single-rate GST should be the goal
  • But that would be tough now, the secretary said
  • The Centre is fully prepared for GST, he said

NEW DELHI: Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia has said that the ultimate goal of the government should be to move to a single- or dual-rate goods and services tax regime.

“Ideally like all other advanced countries, we should have got one GST+ which is levied by one government only, and not a dual GST and also a GST in which there is a uniform rate. In our country, where there are different strata of society to be looked after, it’s not possible to have an ideal GST. We are in a good direction. We will prefer to have a single GST rate but after sometime. That should be the ultimate goal — instead of having too many complicated rates, at least one or two rates should be there,” Adhia said during a panel discussion on Doordarshan News.

The government has opted for four slabs for both goods and services — 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. In addition, several items face zero levy, while bullion will attract 3% GST and luxury and sin goods that are in the top bracket will also attract a cessthat will be used to compensate states for revenue loss.

Industry has been complaining that it is not fully ready and even GST Network, the technology platform, is facing teething problems with forms yet to be ready.

The revenue secretary, however, said that the government was fully ready. “We are fully prepared but we are hearing some sound that they are not, but we do hope that in the last 15 days — now that they have understood that the government is dead serious about implementing it from July 1 — they are also getting ready for it. Ultimately, in our country, when we force them to jump into it, people will start learning. So they will eventually gain the knowledge and start learning… We are helping them in a big way.”

Asked about the perception that compliance burden will rise and many do not have the infrastructure, Adhia said that instead of multiple taxes, there will be only one tax and online filing.

“Apart from VAT, excise duty, service tax and CST, where there are compliance requirements, there are many cesses that are not imposed by the revenue department but by other ministries. There are multiple forms and multiple returns to be filed today.”
He also said that businesses have to file only one return and attach their sales details with the other two returns to be generated automatically with the computer taking the burden of the second and third returns. So, will the compliance burden come down?

“Absolutely. We are not asking anyone to go to any office, file paper returns and check them. There is nothing else to be done — it is all electronic,” he said, adding that there will be ease of doing business.
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