03.04.2023: Agrofood Chamber welcomes decision to finalise SOP for GST investigations

The Agrofood Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the steps being taken by the Department of Revenue to finalise a standard operating procedure for officers undertaking intelligence and investigation work, ahead of the launch of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal.

In a press release, chamber president S. Rethinavelu said that this is the only way to clear the conundrum created by hasty and haphazard implementation of the progressive taxation system GST. The chamber welcomes this positive and proactive move which is a step in the right direction, he said.

Issuance of hundreds of notifications, clarifications, amendments and FAQs under GST in the nearly six-year-old indirect tax regime has made this Taxation Act more complicated and difficult to understand, even for implementing officials. Innocent traders are made to pay heavy penalties for no fault of theirs, Mr. Rethinavelu said.

Adding to the woes, the State governments are giving instructions under the SGST contrary to the CGST and following different procedures, which confuse even the tax consultants. Authority on Advance Ruling (AAR) of different States are giving different rulings on tax rates for the same commodity, he said.

He said that in order to clear the ambiguity, only ‘one rate for all the goods covered under one Chapter’ should be fixed. This is the ultimate way to simplify GST. The main reason for the miserable situation is the non-consultation with the trade and industry, which are the main stakeholders in the implementation of GST. Unless a standard operating procedure is finalised in consultation with the trade and industry to be implemented strictly throughout India, the proposed Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal would be flooded with appeals, he said.

Source: The Hindu

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