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Kerala govt’s GST dept underwent restructuring for ensuring tax revenue increase: K N Balagopal

Thiruvananthapuram, January 17, 2023 

The Kerala government on Tuesday said that its GST department has undergone a major restructuring by dividing it into three sections, including an audit service, with the expectation that it would lead to an increase in the state’s tax revenue.

Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal said that since implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) the southern state, as well as several others, have not been receiving the entire tax revenue they were entitled to.

This, he said, was due to the reason that the GST being a complex tax mechanism was not being implemented systematically and that is why the concept of GST compensation was introduced for a period of five years.

“That period is over, yet it is not being implemented systematically and states, including Kerala, continue to lose tax revenue,” the minister said at a press conference here.

However, despite the loss of tax revenue and various financial restrictions on the state, Kerala was one of the 4-5 states of the country which showed economic growth across various sectors in the last year, he contended.

Balagopal said that prior to GST, there was the system of carrying out physical verifications, but now authorities have to rely on the bills given by businesses.

“That is where the audit mechanism would come into play.” Besides the Audit service, there will be an Intelligence and Inspection wing and a taxpayer section, each with its own role to play, the minister noted.

The intelligence and inspection wing will carry out checkings and enforcement while the taxpayer service will deal with registrations, taxes paid, filing of returns, issuing notices, etc, he said.

“Things will be more transparent now. Also with the coming of the audit and investigation services, tax revenue is expected to increase,” Balagopal said.

He also said that under the GST every year around Rs 2-3 lakh crores is left as unclaimed taxes of the states.

In order to address all these issues the GST department has undergone a major restructuring, he said.

The minister also said the new system would also be more people friendly and less arbitrary as it would examine things more scientifically with the help of accurate data.

He urged businesses to properly deposit taxes and the public to ask for bills on making purchases.

[The Print]