Scope for reducing GST slabs, hints Arun Jaitley
Faridabad: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday hinted that there is scope for lesser slabs under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) once there is revenue buoyancy.
"We are in first 2-3 months (of GST implementation). We have almost by the day, space and scope for improvement. We have space for improvement and need for improvement to reduce compliance burden as far as small taxpayers are concerned," he said.
"We have space for improvement, eventually once we become revenue neutral, to think in terms of bigger reforms such as lesser slabs, but for that, we have to become revenue neutral...," he said at an event organised here by National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN).
Currently, the GST regime slots items under rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. An additional GST compensation cess is also levied on certain products.
Emphasising that indirect tax burden is borne by all sections of the society, the minister said it is always the endeavour of the government to bring down tax rates on mass consumption commodities.
"Direct tax is paid by more by the more affluent, somewhat by the others and certainly not by the weaker section but the impact of indirect tax places burden on all.
"Therefore, an effort is always as part of the fiscal policy... to ensure that the commodities which are consumed more by the common people are least taxed compared to others," he said.
Noting that India has conventionally been a tax non- compliant society, he said when people have the right to demand development, they also have the responsibility to pay what is required for the development.
Addressing the 67th batch of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers, the finance minister said revenue is the lifeline of governance and all the developmental activities.
"You don't have to extort taxes from those who are not liable to pay...as tax people, you are not entitled to invite fear, you have to invite a respect that you are somebody who (wants) people to comply with the national duty," he said.
He also said there are never grey areas in taxation law and it is the duty of tax officer to be firm and fair.