19.01.2023: Traders urge TN to withdraw recent amendments to GST circular

The Agrofood Chamber of Commerce and Industry has requested Minister for Commercial Taxes P Moorthy to withdraw the recent amendments to the GST Circular and implement former State Commissioner of Commercial Taxes TV Somanathan's Circular dated May 31, 2019, regarding the roving squad functions. The members have also urged Chief Minister MK Stalin to form a State GST council comprising trade representatives.

President of the chamber S Rethinavelu, in a release, expressed strong opposition to the amendments issued by the Commercial Taxes Department on January 10 this year, which directed the roving squad to levy a maximum penalty of double tax on goods as per Section 129 of the GST Act, even for errors not involving any tax evasion, during inspection of goods vehicles.

“The circular issued in 2019 by Somanathan, who is at present the union finance secretary, gave detailed protocol to be adopted by roving squad officers while intercepting and inspecting goods vehicles. The circular prescribed lesser penalties for errors other than tax evasion, insisting that innocent taxpayers should not be confronted with unpleasant and unfriendly actions from the department. We demand that this circular be implemented in its entirety,” Rethinavelu said.

In the absence of this circular's implementation, tax officials are behaving as tax collectors instead of tax administrators and levying higher penalties against the provisions, the release read. “Adding insult to injury, the state has now amended the circular. Provisions of levying lesser penalty have been deleted and a maximum penalty of 200% of the tax amount has been prescribed for non-tax evasive error, even when the consignment is accompanied by tax invoice and a valid e-way bill showing sufferance of tax,” the chamber president added.

Source: The New Indian Express

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