New Delhi, February 26, 2017

An association representing indirect tax officers has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to reverse certain decisions taken by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the officers’ body has also highlighted the serious security and financial concerns raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Home Ministry against the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN).

GSTN is a special purpose vehicle set up to provide information technology infrastructure for the implementation of the new tax regime.

The GST Council had in its January 16 meeting agreed to give states the powers to levy tax on economic activity within 12 nautical miles of territorial waters and to administer 90 per cent of the tax payers under Rs. 1.5 crore annual turnover, besides drafting certain provisions of Integrated GST.

The Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) Officers’ Association said that states have no experience of service tax which is very different as a concept.

“In such a scenario, divergent views on similar tax issues may emerge across states leading to a plethora of litigations,” it said.

The association demanded revision of the division of assessees below Rs. 1.5 crore in the ratio of 50:50. This would mean a vertical split of the entire assessee base in the ratio of 50:50.

It also raised concerns over GSTN which is manned by non-IRS officers at senior levels.

“There are security and financial concerns in GSTN, which could have been avoided by giving this work to the Directorate General, Systems, Central Board of Excise and Customs. CAG and Home Ministry have already raised concerns regarding GSTN,” the association said.

In written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, the government had recently said no security clearance was obtained by the Ministry of Finance from the Ministry of Home Affairs at the time of incorporation of GSTN-Special Purpose Vehicle.

The officers’ association has demanded that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GSTN be from IRS, serving or retired or “GSTN kindly be placed under CBEC”.

[The Hindu Business Line]