NEW DELHI: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that less than 2% of the nearly 59 lakh active taxpayers had pending notices under Central GST (CGST) Act, while asserting that govt wants to make life easier for the assessees.
“We want to reassure the assesses that our intent is to make their lives easier. Under CGST, notices are not being sent left, right and centre,” she told the media.At the end of Dec, 1,14,939 assesses had been sent notices by CGST authorities.
The comments are aimed at clearing the air on repeated attacks by opposition on GST, which has been dubbed “Gabbar Singh Tax” by Rahul Gandhi. Officials suggested that several opposition-ruled states have been at the forefront of issuing notices and summons under the state laws.
In fact, a rush of notices by state authorities has been particularly troubling for large companies which have to register separately in each state. Consultants and companies routinely complain of “summons” being issued by state authorities on minor issues and several of them being asked to appear in person.
Recently, Centre sought to put a check on the issue and issued detailed instructions to its officers that calling for information should not be called a “notice” or “summon” and all such communication should only be sent after it has been approved by senior officers of the department.
“The FM has reassured that GST administration will be reconciliatory, which is very positive from the perspective of ease of doing business and will comfort investors. The steps taken by the GST Council today include several important and trade friendly measures and seek to bring certainty in the tax regime, reduce litigation and improve cash flows,” said Pratik Jain, partner PwC India.
Govt officials said that in the last seven years, the overall direction of GST has been to lower the incidence of tax on consumers with products such as atta and honey exempted, while everyday items such as detergents, cosmetics and TV sets now attracting 18% tax instead of 28% pre-GST.