Millennium Post

Centre concealing vital info on GST: Amit Mitra to Jaitley

Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has accused the Centre of withholding crucial information pertaining to service taxpayer base regarding the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In a letter to Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley, Mitra has blamed the Centre for concealing vital information on the matter.

As per new data made available to state finance ministers, the service taxpayer base is 3.05 million, three times more than the 1.1 million which the states had so far been led to believe.

Mitra, Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, argued that this has unjustly influenced discussions on sharing of administrative powers between the Centre and the states.

The GST Council’s meet, which is scheduled on Thursday, is expected to take up these issues. The meeting has been called to decide on GST rate structure. The council will desperately look for a unanimous resolution. If the issues go unresolved, the Centre may miss the April 1, 2017 deadline for the GST to be kick-started across the country.

A source pointed out that after the first meeting of the GST Council, it was decided that the Centre would control all the existing 1.1 million service tax dealers. In case of goods, it was settled that goods traders with an annual revenue threshold of less than Rs 1.5 crore would be directed by states and anything above would be jointly administered by the Centre and the states.

Some states raised objections in the second meeting of the GST Council, claiming the minutes of the meeting did not sufficiently reflect what was discussed.

The minutes of the first and the second GST Council meeting clearly record a taxpayer base of around 1.1 million for service tax. Later, it was seen that the service taxpayers number shot up to 3.05 million, out of which 2.64 million are shown as active taxpayers. This directly means service tax base has increased three times over last two years.

However, the state governments were supposedly in the dark about this fact. These new figures surfaced after the issue of dual control was discussed in the Council meeting which took place on October 18-19.

Mitra, however, is not alone. Kerala Finance minister TM Thomas Isaac also expressed concerns over the rate structure and tax rates under GST, along with implementation of proposed cess.
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