New Delhi, April 11, 2017

‘Create more awareness of GST amongst businesses’

Within days of being appointed, the new Chairperson of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Vanaja Sarna has asked officers to work with businesses for timely and smooth roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1.

In a missive, the second in as many weeks, she has said field formations must work on outreach programmes to create awareness of GST and ensure faster migration of assesees to GSTN.

“At this stage, it is of paramount importance that we have an effective outreach to all stakeholders to inform them of the salient features and benefits of GST,” she said in the letter.

Apart from initiatives such as TV and radio advertisements, the CBEC has also set up 10 GST Working Groups to work with different sectors of the industry for the transition to the new regime.

Sarna, however, stressed that field formations must work at the local level to create more awareness about GST.

She also called for expediting the migration of existing taxpayers to the GST Network.

“One area of concern at this stage is the migration of the existing central excise and service tax assessees to the GSTN,” she said.

The slow progress of migration of businesses to GSTN has been a cause of concern.

According to latest data, just 14.26 per cent of taxpayers who are registered under Central Excise Act but not registered under State VAT have been enrolled for GST. Similarly, just 32 per cent of service tax assessees who are registered under State VAT have been enrolled for GST.
Deadline extended

The deadline for enrolment has now been extended to April 30 from the earlier target of March 31.

Noting that the Rajya Sabha has cleared all four GST Bills while the processes of legislative approval of the State GST Bills will now begin, Sarna further said, “This puts us on track for the roll out of the new regime on July 1, 2017.”

She also expressed hope that the fitment of goods and services in to the five tax slabs, which is currently under process, will be approved by the GST Council in the subsequent meetings.

The CBEC Chairperson, who was appointed this month, had also written to officers on April 3, asking them to be prepared for the roll out of GST and ensure a smooth transition.

[The Hindu Business Line]