Ahmedabad, October 25, 2017

Even as the Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia hinted at a complete overhauling of the rates under Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Gujarat-based tax professionals-joined by traders and businessmen have threatened of a state-wide stir against the ‘absurd’ system of return filing and ‘harassment’ under the new tax regime.

Addressing media here on Wednesday, Varis Isani, president of the Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association (GSTBA) said, “We are not opposing the tax rates. The bigger and more complex issue is the GST Return filing systems and illogical penalty mechanisms.

At the time of introducing the GST regime, the top leaders including the Prime Minister had assured stakeholders that there will be no harassment and no arbitrary penalty. But those assurances proved worthless. It feels like a breach of trust.”

Demands

GSTBA has raised demands on easing the return filing systems, increasing the time duration and combining the two GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 besides immediate release of the blocked refunds.

According to Isani, the return filing mechanism for GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 is extremely complex putting unnecessary burden on the professionals and their clients.

It needs to be developed on the previous VAT/Sales Tax mechanism, where a single return was required with combined sales-purchase details and matching provisions. “On the other hand, the refunds payable to the traders has been pending for long,” said Isani adding that an estimated blocked refund amounts to as high as Rs.60,000-65,000 crore in the state of Gujarat alone.

“This is an extremely stressful situation as crores of rupees is blocked merely because of poor implementation of systems. We will begin the protest from October 27, when all tax practitioners in the State along with traders will approach their nearby CGST/SGST office and ask the help-desk to file their return and experience the pain we are passing through,” added Isani.

The Association, which has garnered support from other tax professionals’ forums as well as trade chambers, will also submit memorandums raising their concerns before staging a dharna protest at all SGST/CGST offices in the state on November 6.

Earlier professionals from South Gujarat Commercial Tax Bar Association (SGCTBA) had also threatened to boycott the filing of GST returns.

[The Hindu Business Line]