Making GST Good and SimpleThe GST Council, in its meeting on January 18 at New Delhi, has decided to make e-waybill mandatory even for inter-state movement of goods of value over Rs 50000. It has decided to review the composition scheme as it feels the scheme is being misused. The Council revised the rates on 29 items and 53 services. It also decided to simplify compliance by moving towards a one-stage return filing very soon.
By Ashwini Agarwal
The first measure outlined above is driven by the Councils perception that there is widespread evasion and underreporting by traders. Once the inter-state e-waybill system is in place, the government would come to know whether the goods for which the e-waybill number was generated are reflected in sales and purchase invoices and shown in returns. That way, evasion will become almost impossible.
The second measure of reviewing the composition scheme is necessitated by paltry collections from traders who have opted under this scheme. This scheme allows traders who have sales under Rs 20 lakhs to just pay 1% as GST, without of course input benefits on their purchases. But only Rs 307cr have been collected from more than 17 lakh traders registered under the scheme. This amounts to an absurd figure of just Rs 1806 per trader. Hence, the governments suspicions, that the scheme is being misused, are well founded.
The Council also received a detailed presentation from a group, comprising of Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi and Nandan Nilekani, among others, on simplifying processes to make return filing user friendly on the one hand and anti-evasion on the other. Carrying this forward, the Council has agreed in principle to do away with GSTR1, GSTR2 and GSTR3 forms and replace them with a single form, the GSTR3B, along with the uploading of supply invoices. That will ease compliance in a major way.
The GST regime is a vital cog in taking the economy forward by doing away with multiple and confusing taxes. It is also necessary to plug the loopholes that were available to unscrupulous traders to beat the system and avoid paying taxes. Hence, it is imperative that the GST itself is made super simple. Just naming it good and simple tax will not do and the government and the Council have realized that. That is why all efforts are being made to simplify the regime and make it less taxing for traders and industry. It is now upon the taxpayers to come forward and report each and every transaction and pay the tax due on them.