West Bengal finance minister calls for tough steps to fix GST frauds

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NEW DELHI: West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra has expressed deep concern over the cases of GST frauds and has shot off a letter to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman calling for putting in place a robust reporting system to generate real time tax alerts on detection of any suspicious and fraudulent transactions.

“I am shocked and deeply worried to learn about the massive fraud taking place under the GST structure today,” Mitra said in his letter, citing the reply in Rajya Sabha by minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur, who estimated the amount to be Rs 45,682 crore since the rollout of the tax reform measure on July 1, 2017.

“In fact, this massive fraud under GST is understated, as complete data of frauds under SGST have not been factored in. If the detected and undetected cases of tax fraud of all states under SGST are compiled, then the tax evasion figure may cross Rs 1 lakh crore,” Mitra said.

He said that giving up the concept of invoice matching had led to widespread tax frauds and hawala. “You would kindly recall that I have time and again raised my concern that introducing GST without full legal and administrative preparedness and a robust IT system capable of preventing tax leakages maybe a recipe for disaster. My fear and concerns have now come true,” the West Bengal FM said.

Mitra suggested four measures to prevent such tax frauds and urged Sitharaman to include these in the agenda of the next meeting of the GST Council.

He said a thorough investigation should be initiated to detect all cases of tax evasion under GST and take appropriate action against the racketeers for recovery of the evaded tax. “Given the interstate nature of this colossal fraud, task forces consisting of state and central GST authorities need to be set up,” Mitra said.

He said a list of all cancelled GSTINS with PAN, email and other details should be made available to all officers, so that the same fraud is not investigated by multiple agencies. Mitra also suggested that the new return system, with invoice matching, must be in place by October for large taxpayers and by January for all taxpayers.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/wb-fm-calls-for-tough-steps-to-fix-gst-frauds/articleshow/70884676.cms

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