An association of indirect tax officers has approached the Prime Minister to intervene and reverse some of the decisions taken by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.
The officers’ body submitted a memorandum to the PMO, in which they have emphasized on the serious financial and security concerns highlighted by the Home Ministry and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) against the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN).
The GSTN is a vehicle specially set up to offer IT infrastructure for the smooth implementation of the newly proposed tax regime.
In an earlier meeting of the GST Council, it was decided to provide states the power to levy tax on economic undertakings within 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. The Council also agreed to empower states for administering 90% of taxpayers who fall under the realm of Rs.1.5 crore annual turnover, and for drafting certain provisions of Integrated GST.
The IRS Customs and Central Excise Officers’ Association mentioned that disparate views on similar tax issues may appear across states, leading to varied litigations, as the states are not experienced in the concepts of levying Service Tax.
The association requested for a vertical split of the complete assessee base (having below Rs.1.5 crore annual turnover) in a 50:50 ratio. It also voiced concerns over the manning of senior levels of the GSTN by non-IRS officers.
The association demanded that the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the GSTN be from IRS. It also mentioned that the Additional Secretary in the GST secretariat, an IAS officer, is an individual without any experience in this field. The association further highlighted that the GST implementation has failed in several countries due to faulty execution, as specialists were not involved.
The memorandum also said, “We will be failing in our constitutional duties, if we do not bring these concerns to your kind notice before the roll-out of GST. Final call is always with the Government, to which we promise to abide by.”