Completely on track for July 1 rollout of GST

“We will have to look at facilitation as there may be bonafide, genuine mistakes,” said Vanaja N Sarna, Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs, adding that enforcement may not be the key focus of the government in the initial days of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

In an interview to BusinessLine, she said the government is fully ready for the rollout of GST. Excerpts:

Apart from relaxation in return filing, will the tax authorities also go slow on penal provisions in the early months?

It depends on what kind of an issue it is.

But I would not think that enforcement is the order of the day.

We will be looking at a smooth rollout and facilitation is the key word.

A lot of people will struggle; there will be bonafide and genuine mistakes that may occur.

We will have to look at facilitation.

By when will the anti-profiteering authority be set up?

We are fine tuning the provisions of the anti-profiteering authority.

There has been a lot of discussion in today’s GST Council meeting, which caused the re-look.

We will set it up as soon as possible and hopefully it will be in place by July 1.

What is the biggest challenge in the implementation of GST?

July 1 is quite close. The biggest challenge is that trade and industry should not have any difficulty. Our effort has been to get everyone ready. Our officers are trying to help them understand the rules of the law. In a recent letter, I have also asked the range officers to be ready and help assessees in physically uploading invoices and also in filing returns and registrations.

Is the government ready for the July 1 rollout of GST?

Absolutely, we are completely on track for a July 1 rollout. Our advertisements have also asked taxpayers to be ready for the scheduled launch of GST.

How will GST help the common person?

It should be rather good. The man on the road who buys something from a store is not aware that there are embedded taxes at the factory gate, which he doesn’t see on his bill. So a shopkeeper or a seller can actually put any price and he may not know.

With GST, every tax has been subsumed. For a buyer, he is paying what he sees on the bill.

[The Hindu Business Line]