Mohan R LaviUnion Budgets are normally used as a platform to make major policy announcements. When it comes to GST, even though the Finance Minister has hinted at further rationalisation of rates, it may not be announced in the Budget since the present rates leave little ground for major changes — rate changes made in the Budget will at best be cosmetic.
The Finance Minister should make it a point to assure exporters that their grievances will be sorted out soon. What one can possibly see in the Budget is an increase in direct and other taxation rates to balance the fluctuations in GST revenues.
An administrative aspect should engage the attention of the Finance Minister. While all the action in GST has been on the rates and returns, the GST Council should take the task of simplifying its notifications a priority. There are far too many notifications being issued. The Council would do well to amend a notification that has already been issued instead of issuing new ones amending earlier ones.
Take Notification No 1/2018-Integrated Tax. It reads: “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 4 of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017) (hereafter in this notification referred to as the “IGST Act”), on the recommendations of the Council, the Central Government hereby makes the following amendment in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue No. 11/2017-Integrated Tax dated the 13th October, 2017, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (i) vide number G.S.R. 1261 (E) dated the 13th October, 2017, namely:-
In the said notification, for the words and figures “except rule 96”, the words, figures, brackets and letter ‘except sub rules (1) to (8) and sub rule (10) of rule 96” shall be substituted.”
The original notification specified that the officers appointed under the respective laws would be empowered to grant a refund also except for IGST paid on goods exported out of India. Notification 1/2018 amended 11/2017 by specifying specific clauses to which the cross-empowerment would not apply instead of the entire Rule. All that should have been done would be to make the amendment in the original Notification 11/2017 as amended. It is going to be extremely difficult for the taxpayer to keep referring and cross-linking notifications.
The Central Board of Excise and Custom is issuing amended CGST Rules quite frequently so that taxpayers need not refer to old rules and the amendments — a similar pattern should be followed for GST Council’s notifications.
It would be very optimistic to expect such a change in Budget 2017 since going on a Notification issuing binge has become a matter of habit than a necessity. From this Budget day, the e-way Bill system comes into operation. Since the e-way Bill system has worked well in some States, there may not be too many glitches in the software. This could put pressure on Infosys, which manages GST Network’s infrastructure, to fix the software glitches that keep cropping up on the portal. If a transporter can obtain a transport document without any glitches, there is no reason why a taxpayer should not be able to file his returns in a similar manner.
Source- Business Line.