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82% traders register for GST in Telangana

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-06-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: Around 150,000 traders, or nearly 82 % of the total in Telangana, have registered themselves with the commercial taxes department, auguring well for the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST) in the state on 1 July.

Senior government officials said GST is unlikely to have much of a negative impact on the state’s revenues.

“Chances of a drastic fall in revenues are not high, as Telangana is not huge in terms of production in comparison with states like Gujarat or Tamil Nadu. States like those will incur more losses because they earn tax money when goods manufactured there are sold outside. Since GST is destination based, that tax revenue will now go to the state where products are sold,” said Somesh Kumar, principal secretary to government (commercial taxes and excise).

For Telangana, the estimated revenue for 2017-18 from GST has been calculated taking the year 2015-16 as the base, after subtracting tax money earned from petroleum and liquor.

“In 2015-16, Rs30,870 crore was the total revenue. So the base amount is Rs15,830 crore, on which 14% for 2016-17 and another 14% (on Rs15,830 plus 14%) for 2017-18 have been taken as the money we should get from GST. If there is any shortfall, the centre will make up for it,” Kumar said.

Another senior official from the finance department, who didn’t wish to be named, was cautious. “How the GST will affect Telanagana’s exchequer can be gauged only after it comes into affect,” he added.

Separately, the commercial taxes department, in a tie-up with the Indian Institute of Technology–Hyderabad, has developed an app, primarily targeted at hotels and restaurants, to enable customers to complain in case they notice anything amiss.

“All you need to do is to take a photo of the bill and it will be uploaded on our server. The software will scan for the hotel’s VAT (later GST) number and other details,” said Kumar. The primary objective of the app is to encourage people from complaining to the department if they feel that hotels are being unscrupulous.

“Most of the plaints that come are about service charge, which has nothing to do with commercial taxes”, Kumar added. To encourage the public, the Commercial Taxes department will also conduct lotteries and give complainants gifts or a cash reward.

“We want hotels to pay their taxes. The problem is that they collect taxes from the public and not pay it to us. This is one way of working on it and also to increase public awareness,” he added. The app, which is will be launched in a couple of weeks and is presently in the beta stage. While it was not decided for sure, it was called the T-VAT initially and might be named as the TS-GST, Kumar said.

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