GST – initiatives by CBEC and GSTN

The path ahead with the GST bill

Despite the political setback to the GST bill and likelihood of delay has not caused much concern to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). The government body continues in its endeavour to gear up for the implementation of GST. It has taken up an initiative to set up an exclusive directorate for the training of the officials. The training in the initial phase is being imparted to 500 officers who will in turn train others.

Three draft legislations on Centre, State and Integrated GST are in the process of finalization within the month of September. Three different committees were constituted for the purpose and included officers from CBEC, department of revenue and finance, and taxation department of the state governments. In the 2 day conference of chief commissioners and Director-General of CBEC in August, the finance minister ArunJaitley, made it clear that the revenue department in consultation with the empowered committee is required to keep all the laws to be enacted by the states and centre ready.

In the conference the GSTN chairman made a descriptive presentation explain how the new IT platform is going to work and how the existing IT infrastructure of CBEC can be aligned with it. A common e-challan is being made ready for the payment of four taxes that includes the CGST, SGST, IGST and also the 1% additional tax. This will be made available by GSTN along with a standardized uniform accounting code for all four. The last date for filing the tax return by all taxpayers would be fixed at 31st December and no revision of return would be allowed. In the return, certain details of the supply invoices would be required to be uploaded based on which the input tax credit would be allowed.

In all likelihood the present territorial jurisdiction and the three tier system of Commissionerates, divisions and ranges will be retained. The stand-alone service tax Commissionerates will be withdrawn and give way to the GST Commissionerates. The system of commissioner(Appeals) will be continued by CBEC. There is also a proposal to create a National Tribunal with linkages to the states through coordinate benches in each state capital. Thus, CBEC is gearing up to face the challenges of reorganization linked with the GST implementation.

CBEC is also pitching for an information exchange system between different tax agencies to curb evasion. The GST network and infrastructure will make the entire system available online. A trail of different transactions is likely at every level because of the necessity to register in order to claim the input tax credit. The information exchange will make it easier to check evasion of tax by a trader if different agencies share information among themselves.

The GSTN is readying for a permanent account number (PAN) registration, filing of tax returns and payment processing system that will help in collating all the relevant data at one place. GSTN will act as a portal where all data will be collected on behalf of the centre and states and then passed on to the tax authorities.

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