All Efforts on for smooth handling of data for transition to GST, says S. Ramesh CBEC Member

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Need to diagnose reasons for India being largely non-tax compliant & educate people to pay due taxes: Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi.

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the anvil, all state governments are working very closely with central government and all efforts are on to put the elaborate information technology (IT) infrastructure in place for smooth handling of massive amount of data, a top CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.

“We are on the anvil of introduction of GST, it is going to be a monumental change and a massive task for all the stakeholders – whether it is government, state governments, taxpayers and others,” said Mr S. Ramesh, Member (Central Excise, Service Tax and IT), CBEC said at an ASSOCHAM Post-Budget Seminar.

“This budget has become very concise and has been done only where it was absolutely thought necessary, when this massive change (GST) is due it was in the fitness of things that the changes should be barest at the minimum,” said Mr Ramesh.

“Still there are several changes as far as the rates, legal provisions, procedural aspects of customs, excise and service tax in this budget – impetus to Make in India theme which has been the major thrust area of the government, rationalisation of duty rates, promotion of cashless transactions which is the most important driving force for the present government, dispute resolution and avoidance of litigation and finally implementation of certain government policies and directives,” he added.

He said that whatever has been done as far as taxation of individuals and non-tax territory, they are fully within the ambit of present provisions. “I would also like to say that these have been part of international best practices abroad and it is time that India also adopts such international best practices,” he added.

He further said that the government is committed to reduction of disputes which often arise in taxation matters due to various interpretational and other issues.

In his address at the ASSOCHAM seminar, Mr Abrar Ahmed, Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi said, “We should diagnose what are the reasons for India being largely a non-tax compliant country, this is not alone the responsibility of the government.”

He said that government has got limited resources and thus greater co-operation of industry, trade bodies and the public at large is required. “Government is doing whatever is possible, so psychology has to be changed because we are non-compliant.”

Highlighting the need for public at large to pay due taxes, Mr Ahmed said, “We should educate and try to change the psychology of people to pay due taxes.”

On the issue of honouring honest taxpayers, he said that though there are already many schemes, introduction of social security system like in other countries may also be devised. “That can be examined and we can discuss with higher authorities as there is no dispute about honouring honest taxpayers.”

He also said that as far as accountability of officers is concerned, there is much more transparency in the present era of RTI (Right to Information) and centralised public grievance redressal and monitoring system (CPGRAMS).