Swati Kharkia

Anticipations from over a decade were put to rest on July 1, 2017 when India’s biggest tax reform since independence, “Goods and Services Tax” (GST) was launched. With an attempt to create historic mark, the Government although claims to have succeeded in this “smooth transition” from the earlier tax regime to the new tax regime, but the scenarios after 75 days of its implementation does not justify the same.

GST – “A Goods & Simple Tax” as christened by our Hon’ble Prime Minister to make it look simple, but it didn’t really change the hard realities faced by the public. Even after multiple representations from various sectors to postpone the date of the implementation of this “historic reform”, GST was implemented as planned by the Government albeit after 3 months from the scheduled date of 1st April 2017. Was the “timeliness” actually fruitful?

Various instances of the difficulties being faced by the vast number of registered assesses, most of whom wanted to be tax compliant, show that had the implementation been delayed for some more time, the public as well as the Government would have been in a better position than what it is today.

If I remember soundly, a couple of Notifications were issued on 28th June’ 17 and 30th June’ 17, but GST was already scheduled to get started from 1st July’ 17. So, in 2-3 days only, the public was expected to read and understand the various notifications and check its relevance in their business. Whether their supplies fell within the exempted category or the 5% or 12% or 18% or 28% slab were all a matter of guess work (trial & error)! Whether the assesses are entitled to charge compensation cess from their customers from 1st July, or not? Whether they should pay tax under reverse charge or forward charge was another mystery? With all such questions occupying the mind of tax payers, the urge to study and understand “as soon as possible” began. No complaints still, people started managing and memorizing all they could to survive in the new regime with the typical Indian attitude of ‘Jugaad’.

But… Just as they started understanding and implementing whatever they had learnt, “amendments” to the notifications started flowing in! Ah, Forget and Re-learn – The law of survival. More and more notifications were issued after 1st July which kept amending what was notified at an earlier date. When the government itself was not sure how things should be placed, with the GST Council also not being clear on the modalities (despite so many meetings at the cost of the public money), the public is expected to adapt to the new system. No complaints still, people continued the process of forgetting and relearning.

With an approach to minimizing tax evasion, monthly return filing system was adopted in GST. But as soon as the first due date approached, the Government seeming unready with their own infrastructure, brought in a “Short-cut” return called GSTR – 3B. This was nothing but an increase to the number of returns from 3 to 4 per month! In the garb of ‘giving public some time to adapt’ to the new tax system, Government took time for itself to develop and test the “System” (GSTN) which completely let down the Government.

Months after months are passing, but as the next due date approaches to file the returns, screen buzzes with notifications stating “last date to file the return extended”. Although the taxpayer lets out a sigh of relief on the extension as he gets temporary relief of the arduous tasks in attempting compliance by burning midnight oil, but the cause for extension is not the sweat on the head of taxpayers, it’s the failure of the Government to make the system ready even 75 days after the implementation. The worst is that the extension of dates also is not pre-planned but intimated only in the last minute with the assesses left in the lurch and desperately trying to figure out if the GSTN works and captures data.

My grievance is that if the system is not able to handle so many users together, if the bandwith is so weak, if the ASP/GSP are not properly trained, if the forms are not ready for use, then why is the monthly system of filing not being done away with! Is the extension in deadlines an intelligent solution to this disease of “system error”? Or is it the manner in which time is given to the developer of the GSTN to put its house in order (both internally and externally)!

Its high time the Government, more particularly the Hon’ble Prime Minister intervene and wield its power to ensure the GSTN is up and running with the expectancy of more than 80 lakh users all at one time. The Government should also reconsider its decision and change the monthly system of filing returns to quarterly or half yearly. This will give the Government more time to put build a reliable network and enable the Government to revert to monthly compliance with the FY 2018-19. Alternatively, the Government should build such an infrastructure that the public do not get a chance to put the blame on the government for any failures.

Now, do you still think that GST implementation has been a success? The ego of the Government to stick at its decision of ‘hasty’ implementation has made the economy lose crores of revenue. Had the Government taken some more time to make the “system” ready, ‘taarik pe taarik’ situation would not have arisen today. After 75 days of experiencing the turmoil brought in by GST and the Government experimenting with the tolerant tax compliant assesses, it simply seems a hasty and nasty decision to me!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are strictly personal

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25 Comments

  1. Gaurav Bhardwaj says:

    Points of yours I don’t agree to-
    Every change is tough
    Every thing cannot be planned..things may be missed out..but stitching the torn of the GST cloth would help india bear the intolerable frosty cold in long term..which we as Indians always avoid looking to ..that is what will help form an opaque structure..

    No way the government have any greed nor it rejoice troubling the citizen but if checked in wider prospect..life would be much simpler

    We should welcome the implementation and suggest changes rather than criticising them..

    Appreciation has come from people who know the wider prospects of GST..World Bank CEO and various other World leaders along with most Indian economist praised the Implementation. Let me make one thing very clear..this GOVERNMENT IS THE ONLY GOVERNMENT WHO IS TRYING TO BRIDGE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RICHER AND POOR by making it tough to make black money .?

    Any day or date would have been hasty and preplanned..but one day it was supposed to be implemented.. losing crores would help gain millions and billions… WE SHOULD STOP CRYING FOR AN EVENING SNACKS IF OUR MOM IS PREPARING BUTTER CHICKEN FOR DINNER!!

    I can give simple yet better solution than yours..

    Government should divide the GST filing dates based on the quantum of sales which will be like 5th for people having sale upto 25 lacs, 10th for people having sales from 25 to 50 lacs and so on…In this way the infrastructure would be stable and could bear the bandwidth of data processed making it an easy way out..

    Small hindrance will come…because the latter is much simpler..

    Though good attempt!

  2. CN Tilgulkar says:

    Well written . To add, In the chaos too, there were some sincere tax payers who somehow managed to file returns and pay taxes. And those who were waiting got respite. Is there any motivation or reward to persons who are or were sincere ? Answer is big NO. Its same philosophy that tax payers have to suffer for the inefficiency of mass and government.

  3. GANDHI MOHAN BHARATI says:

    The implementation of Digitalisation is an example. They had manual filing along with efiling for some time. Even now some categories such as Super Senior citizens are exempt from efiling.
    Over ambition and greed had litterely landed the Govt in disaster.
    I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Non Payment of Tax” agitation.
    Like Salt Satyagraha, someday, the people are going to agitate when the Govt squeezes them knowing that public cannot live without it – like petroleum products. Who asked them for “Ujwala Scheme” where after 10 refills even the poorest of poor will face the full impact of taxation?

  4. K P Bhanushali says:

    Only solution to this problem is straight forward hence forth, make a system of filing only one return i.e. 3-B every month and thereby revenue is collected as such and a yearly summery return to change/correct the mistakes done during 12 months. that’s it.

  5. S Vanaja says:

    The Earlier Govt of Shri MM Sigh understood very well that the Implementation against opposition from all cross sections of the society will land the central govt into a slush , The Earlier Govt also understood very well that it was too early to implement GST throughout the country without any robust infrastructure. Further Shri MM Sing Govt applied its mind & well listened to the valuable comments of TAX consultants without any egoistic approach & decided not show any urgency in implementation of the GST. Shri Modiji who was against GST during the Earlier Regime , what made him now to take an hasty decision. The Reasos are best Known to him. The present Govt ‘s second flop is GSt & the First one Demobilization without any prepardedness. god SAVE THE NATION FROM THE PRESENT Draconian Govt . Frequent Extension of time for filing returns itself reflects the inefficiency of GSTN Council & its Net work

  6. vswami says:

    OFFHAND
    Although have no intimate knowledge of or insight into the grievances set out in the write-up, or having no direct concern or vested interest in the matter, going by the hot discussion and views charged with emotion as shared by the impacted co-members of the CA fraternity, to say the least, there is no gainsaying that all do not seem to be well with the GST regime; that is, wholly from the viewpoint of those directly concerned/ gravely affected. On that premise, what needs to be primarily focused on is the adverse impact all that is going to have on the consumers’ community- being the ultimate supposed-to -be beneficiaries of the new Code.

    In this context, one’s own independent but impartial viewpoint that requires to be essentially restated/reinforced, in the larger public interest, in its profound sense, is this: Instead of any sincere attempt at simplifying, as far as feasible, the governing laws. rules and regulations, there has been a paradigm shift and measures taken to simplifying the procedures, mostly placing faith and emphasis, unduly so, on modern technology / ‘digitization’, without taking adequate precautions, upfront, as warranted.

    Over to, besides law experts, technical experts, to openly share their independent but impartial viewpoints.

  7. narasimha Rao says:

    Very true, Council to done away with GSTR1 filing upto March 31, 2018 & continue with GSTR3B for revenue point of view. Meanwhile ensure the system readiness with user friendly for uploading the data GSTR1. Also remove the requirement of States Way bill which creates hurdle for movement of goods. understand that ASP/ GSP also not able to support, hence proper training to be given to ASP/ GSPs. Moreover it is suggested to compile the issues faced by corporate for necessary modification in the portal. Further remove the penalty provisions in the portal for smooth uploading immediately.

  8. Pawan says:

    Respected commenters be informed democracy has been overtaken by mockeracy and we should embrace RAM RAJYA.
    In Ram Rajya, Ram was the king and all rest were followers by respect and love but in mokeracy all of us are followers by force.
    Sad to say we are worse than herds as we have been put behind invisible cage (GST) where above narrated hunters are blowed on us everyday.
    Please note that as more months pass then GST notices will be issued for no fault of us and we will have explain how, why and when and go for JUGAAD and PALM GREASING leaving our bread and butter.

  9. RIZVI HOUSE says:

    I totally agree with your view. specially for return filling it should be qrtly or half yearly is better for all the organisation.More over govt still collecting tool tax . though it declared earlier that no more indirect tax after GST.

  10. Abhimanyu Maharana says:

    I totally agree with the above said article. And required steps to be taken to made it more simple and easy to understand while filing the gst return along with help manual for each task in portal and make it more user friendly. Finally for large tax payers and medium tax payers the gst return would be for a quarter i.e in 3 months instead of monthly return to avoid mismatch of input and output gst.

  11. Samsutheen says:

    Well said that monthly GST Returns are excessive and unproductive. Monthly GST payment Chellan may contain output supply, output tax, input supply and input tax and the said information can be captured from Chellan and can be cross checked with year end return filed with I-T .Infact the very I-T payment also be merged with the said Chellan to reduce the frequency.A single audit system may be needed for large taxpayers have a turnover of 5 crore and above. We have to rely self assessment based on records maintained by the taxpayers.It is successful in I-T and service tax. Why not the same procedure cannot be applied to GST also.The age old draconian procedure in Excise law is cumbersome and painful and imperialistic.It is outdated and has age of about 73 years old .The very Excise law is implemented through subordinate legislation through notification and office orders.The Act is skeleton even now . These procedures are felt to be unsuccessful atleast in the last 25 years. The existing I-T TDS procedure also excessive for small businesses.It may also be captured through TDS Chellan upto 10 entries. In my thinking, labour from mankind should be utilised for more progressive life for him. Spending such huge labour for GST compliance is not productive to the extent of labour spent.

  12. SYLVIA FRANCIS says:

    Like all other projects stolen from the UPA regime, this was yet another “chest thumping” exercise to show the world it had achieved something without thinking of the consequences. They refused to listen to reason then & continue to do so now. God help them!

  13. Namrata Jain says:

    I totally agree with the above said article.Superbly you have in scripted your thoughts into this Article. As we all know Climax (i.e.Implementation of GST) of any Filmstory (GST) is very important as it can make it “Superhit” or “Superflop”The implementation of the GST is meant to streamline the country’s indirect tax system by merging its many central and state taxes. Though new tax system has been acknowledged as beneficial and advantageous in many ways, there are still some concerns regarding its successful implementation. So somewhere The Climax of our story turned out to be “SuperFlop”.If GST implementation issues are not handled well, this new tax reform can have long-term effects on our economy.

    The benefits of this tax reform are undeniable: it will help to bring India’s informal sector into the fold, increase exports, lower business costs across most sectors and reduce incidences of unnecessary double taxation. Nevertheless, there are certain issues that are related to the implementation of the tax system & the uncertainty related to the functionality of the GST information technology system. These challenges can result in the sinking of a promising policy endeavour.

    GSTif implemented properly can do wonders for the Indian economy. It can also integrate the informal sector into the greater Indian economy and also provide a much needed boost for the countries flagging export.
    So “Jaago Government Jaago” so that “Acche Din Aaye”.

  14. amit says:

    its Nasty, Hasty, Irresponsible, Faulty, Arrogant , Unsensible, Foolish decision from Governments part. Almost 50 crores of the Indian people (directly and indirectly) suffering mental torture and harrasment since last 1 year.

  15. CA. S.C.Podder says:

    Kindly tell us whether the Pubic of India accepted the implementation of GST ?
    Every house holders are blaming GST impact .
    Productions declined , unemployment , lack of working capital, unrealized money from the creditors , input tax credit not getting by the suppliers etc.
    Unable to decide by small / medium term / business men even professionals . systems not yet in place.

  16. Shailendra Kumar Chhatoi says:

    Really valuable analysis of present state of GST. Most painful when unable to do complete the task in portal. Waiting and seeking clarification from Help-desk and other intermediaries makes the worries increased and finally work remains pending.

    Hope the government should heed our concern and help us strengthening the system for better implementation.

  17. CA Anil Gupta says:

    Hello!
    I was wondering whether you belong to Bhiwani District in Haryana. I will comment later on after reading and embracng other articles

  18. H A Vakharia says:

    Not at all justifies to say that there was dead line & blah..blah….That is their problem.
    Best thing like GST is implemented in worst way in world’s history.
    Was there deadline for demonization too ?
    That too was implemented without ANY preparation. People died in queue. Has it happened any where in world ?
    Why did Modi opposed GST when Congress wanted to implement ? That time there was no deadline ?
    It is his ” fidrat” to do things in haste & drametically for cheap publicity. But so long as people support his nonsense, things will get even worse.

  19. Adit Lakhotia says:

    It turned out Nasty but Govt had no option than to go Hasty as the deadline to implement GST was 28th August and if it had got delayed than the bill has to be passed again in both the Houses along with 2/3rd of States with the help of our Nasty Opposition.

    1. E.H.Ansari says:

      Dear Sir, it is one man show and hence very difficult to correct the mistake. If your are over zealous , you will be run down by Bullet Train.

    2. kharkiaswati says:

      Very true, but the point is government itself should have been ready if they wanted to implement it. And moreover, in all this policy matters of passing the bills and all, the sufferers, as usual, became the poor public!

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