Millennium Post

'Government must step up work on GST Rules, fitment in tax slabs'

PwC lauded the passage of GST Bills with extensive debating in the Lok Sabha, despite some bit of political resistance. Being a Money Bill, concurrence of the Rajya Sabha is not needed for the bills to become effective.

Hailing the passage of four GST Bills in the Lok Sabha as a step closer to the implementation, industry stakeholders on Thursday said that the government needs to step up work on fitment of commodities in tax slabs to ensure a smooth roll-out by July 1.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the much-awaited Central Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, Integrated GST Bill, Compensation GST Bill and Union Territory GST Bill, 2017, after negating all the amendments put forward by the Opposition.

"The passage of key enabling laws by Parliament would bring the revolutionary Goods and Services Tax (GST) closer to becoming a reality," said Sandeep Jajodia, President, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

"It is up to the industry, Centre and the state governments to work on a tight deadline for a smooth roll-out of the GST," Jajodia added.

"The GST Council and the government administration must now step up work on the final details and fitments of different tax brackets," he said.

Pratik Jain, Partner and National Leader - Indirect Tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, said that in terms of next step, focus would now be shifting to finalisation of rules which are to be taken up in the GST Council meeting on March 31.

"Finalisation of these rules is necessary for the businesses to prepare for the transition, particularly in terms of IT and systems related changes," Jain said.

"It is likely that suggestions of the working groups constituted last week for a few sectors would be taken into account while finalising the rules," he added.

Also, the industry would be keenly awaiting finalisation of GST rates, an exercise which may entail intense debate within the GST Council over next one month or so.

PwC lauded the passage of GST Bills with extensive debating in the Lok Sabha, despite some bit of political resistance. Being a Money Bill, concurrence of the Rajya Sabha is not needed for the bills to become effective.

"However, government should perhaps note the concerns raised by opposition, particularly those relating to tax administration, impact of multiple rate structure and possible impact on sectors which are to be excluded from GST -- like agriculture and petroleum," Jain said.

The comments come in as the Lok Sabha on Thursday rejected amendments to the Finance Bill.

Rajeev Dimri, Leader, Indirect Tax, BMR and Associates LLP, said, "GST Bills as passed by Lok Sabha should provide enough material to India Inc to start implementing GST for the business."

"Now it is important that supporting rules are finalised by the GST Council in its next few meetings, and should be released at the earliest to enable the businesses to align their compliance and regulatory processes," Dimri said.

For the businesses to precisely assess the financial impact, it is also essential for the policy-makers to provide clarity on the applicable tax rates for various sectors, he said.

Rakesh Bhargava, Director,, said that as the government has decided to bring these bills in the Lok Sabha as Money Bills, the Rajya Sabha can only suggest changes to them. However, the Lok Sabha is not bound to accept.

"Now, it will be merely a formality to get final nod of Parliament to make the GST Law. The government has emphasised in the Lok Sabha that it wants the consensus of all parties to pass GST bills," he said.

"Since, this session of Parliament will end on April 12, it has to be passed in this Budget Session in order to get it implemented from July 1, otherwise this deadline will not be achieved," Bhargava added.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman, India and South East Asia of the commercial real estate services CBRE, said: "This is a significant moment in our country's economic history. With the passage of India's biggest tax reform in decades, we will become a unified market, with one tax for all goods and services."

"Once implemented, GST will significantly ease the ambiguity around our taxation system, promote ease of doing business, encourage more Foreign Direct Investment and stimulate overall growth of the economy," Magazine said.

Sachin Sandhir, Global Managing Director - Emerging Business, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "We congratulate the government for clearing the path for the roll-out of the GST from July 1. While GST was not fundamentally designed with the real estate sector in mind, the sector will gain from it."
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