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GST: Traders’ body wants Lokpal-like authority for grievance redressal

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday demanded setting up of an ‘impartial authority’ like an ombudsman or Lokpal, whom businessmen can voice their grievances related to the goods and services tax (GST) and seek redressal.

“At present, if I have a taxation-related grievance, the appellate authority is also a person who is part of the system. The way there is an ombudsman everywhere else, under GST also there should be a provision for a Lokpal or ombudsman,” CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal told reporters. “If I have a problem, there has to be an impartial authority where I can go and air my grievances,” he added.

Khandelwal said small businesses will face difficulties in complying with GST due to it being a technology-driven taxation system, as 60% of traders are yet to adopt computerisation in their existing business format.

Terming GST as a learning process for traders as well as the government, Khandelwal demanded that the government declare first nine months post the GST implementation up to 31 March as an interim period, in which there should not be any penal action against traders for ‘procedural lapses leading to non-compliance’. CAIT also sought the first two years after the GST rollout from 1 July to be declared as a transition period.

“We have also requested the government to suspend implementation of e-way bill and HSN (harmonized system of nomenclature) code for six months,” Khandelwal said, highlighting that the government needs to sit with traders to iron out initial difficulties in compliance.

The traders’ body asked the government to clarify which products will come under the ambit of unbranded goods, saying that there is a lot of confusion over it among traders.

Asserting that almost 19% of the items have been classified in the 28% tax slab under GST which was meant for ‘luxurious and demerit’ goods, Khandelwal requested the government to ‘revisit’ the 28% slab in line with the fundamentals decided by the GST Council.

According to CAIT, stocks pertaining to the period up to the previous one year from the date of the GST implementation shall only be considered for availing input credit. 100% input credit of value added tax is allowed on such stock.

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