Opinion

GST made difficult

Mohan R Lavi | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on October 16, 2017

Those drafting rules have confused everyone

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a GST taxpayer whose turnover is just a notch above ₹1 crore. He has gone through all the trials and tribulations that the first 100 days of GST thrust upon him. However, he heaved a sigh of relief on October 6 after the “ relief” meeting of the GST Council. The GST Council had decided that to facilitate the ease of payment and return filing for small and medium businesses with annual aggregate turnover up to ₹1.5 crore, such taxpayers shall be required to file quarterly returns and pay taxes only on a quarterly basis, starting from the third quarter of this financial year. He was further pleased when the release stated that the registered buyers from such small taxpayers would be eligible to avail ITC on a monthly basis. However, our taxpayer patiently waited for Notifications that would implement relief measures. His wait lasted for a full week. On October 13, the notification arrived.

Notification nuances

It read as follows: “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 148 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017) (hereafter in this notification referred to as the ‘said Act’), the Central Government, on the recommendations of the Council, hereby notifies the registered person whose aggregate turnover in the preceding financial year did not exceed ₹1 crore and ₹50 lakh rupees or the registered person whose aggregate turnover in the year in which such person has obtained registration is likely to be less than one crore and fifty lakh rupees and who did not opt for the composition levy under section 10 of the said Act as the class of persons who shall pay the central tax on the outward supply of goods at the time of supply as specified in clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 12 of the said Act including in the situations attracting the provisions of section 14 of the said Act, and shall accordingly furnish the details and returns as mentioned in Chapter IX of the said Act and the rules made thereunder and the period prescribed for the payment of tax by such class of registered persons shall be such as specified in the said Act”.

One can well imagine the myriad emotions of our taxpayer after reading the Notification. The fact that taxpayers are permitted to file returns and pay taxes on a quarterly basis does not find a direct mention anywhere either in the Notification. If one interprets the above Notification, it could mean that the taxpayer has to pay tax everytime he raises an invoice. The subject of the Notification reads “ seeks to make payment of tax on issuance of invoice by registered persons having aggregate turnover less than ₹1.5 crore”.

There still seems to be a huge disconnect between the intentions of the Government vis-à-vis GST and the persons drafting the law. The Government is of the opinion that GST is a good and simple tax while the drafters seem to be keen on making it a genuinely strenuous tax. Until this disconnect is fixed by both of them having a continuous dialogue, there is bound to be confusion ad infinitum. Notifications should be able to give instructions easily and directly instead of taking a lot of trouble to state simple things.

The writer is a chartered accountant

Published on October 16, 2017
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