AIMTPA has written a letter to Commissioner of State Tax and brought to his attention issues being faced during assessments under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002 , the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 and some issues related to the functioning of the Department’s portal viz www.mahagst.gov.in/en. Text of their letter is as follows:-
The Hon’ Commissioner of State Tax,
Department of Goods and Services Tax,
Mumbai 400 010
Reference: The M.V.A.T. Act 2002 and The C.S.T. Act 1956.
Subject: Regarding representation to ameliorate compliance.
Apropos, we would like to represent before your esteemed honor and for your consideration, the following issues being faced during assessments under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002 (the VAT Act for short), the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 (the CST Act for short) and some issues related to the functioning of the Department’s portal viz www.mahagst.gov.in/en.
1. The Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002: –
The Department Officers are engaged in the work of finishing all Issue Based Audits, Comprehensive Assessments and Refund Audits expeditiously. It is understood and acknowledged that it is necessary to finish all pending work under the VAT Act as fast as possible, so as to focus more on scrutinizing of the Goods and Services Tax compliance.
It is however believed that there is a scope for a more coordinated effort on this front. The members of profession have to simultaneously work on attending VAT hearings, look after current GST compliance, other tax compliance, etc. In this regard, your honor may do well by focusing only on finishing pendency in VAT by declaring an outer date of your choice and have all the State machinery direct their efforts on achieving the target. By doing this, the professionals will be able to plan their work and help Officers by faster response, so also the members of Trade shall be relieved of VAT related financial burdens, if any, given the lukewarm economic conditions. If this suggestion is to be accepted, then we would like to request you to keep issuance of or follow up of GST scrutiny, audits, in abeyance till VAT matters are finished. It is as such opined that the compliances under GST are prone to too much litigation from the very beginning and hence it would not be prudent, pressing GST audits and scrutiny at this juncture. Burden of varied compliance slows the productivity of all the concerned stakeholders, and neither of the work is fully disposed.
The specific issues in VAT are reproduced below for your consideration: –
a. Non availability of facility to apply for URD assessment for registrations after 25-05-2016. The application for Admin Relief has to be made online, which at present is not fully functional, and the Order for Granting Relief is also to be passed online, which is also not fully functional. This is causing troubles for dealers who either have to pass input tax credit or have to apply for Statutory Declarations and produce it before their vendors in other States, for the period 2016-17 and onwards.
b. Trouble in carrying forward and bringing forward excess credit from previous period to current period is another issue, due to which unnecessary demands are created in returns where excess credit of setoff is not populated from previous return. This is a big hurdle in completing assessments / IBA / refunds for the period 2016-17 and first quarter of 2017-18. We request your honor to look in this issue at top priority and instruct the stakeholders accordingly.
c. It has come to the experience of certain members that an electronic ledger confirmation for the FY 2012-13 and prior is being requested at the appellate stage, though it is not binding by virtue of Trade Circular No 30T of 2018. The Appeals related to the said financial year are not being completed due to the said requests.
d. Officers are often seen attaching bank accounts of dealers where the Assessment Orders are passed and where either the concerned dealer has not filed an appeal or has not applied for rectification of the order. In this regard, it is requested to issue an SOP of administrative nature wherein bank accounts, where the tax dues (excluding interest and penalty) over a certain threshold are only attached.
2. The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956: –
Dealers who had registration only under the CST Act are not able to apply for Statutory Declarations on the new Portal, since they do not have VAT Registration. Prior to the introduction of the new Portal ( www.mahagst.gov.in/en ), these dealers had the facility to apply for Declarations on the old Portal, and to confirm their inter-state purchases, they had to submit the invoices, lorry receipts and account extracts to get Declarations. They are unable to do so on the new Portal. Though the number of such instances is miniscule, the same need to be redressed.
The representation made herein is not in the nature wherein any change in law is required. It is an observation that members of Trade, Profession and even the Department machinery, all are burdened by continuous repetitive compliance. In order to cooperate with the Department, we respectfully represent the above for your consideration, with a hope that the same shall be considered.
We are a newly formed Association that comprises of esteemed members from the Professional fraternity as well members from Trade. We hope for continued cooperation in the future.
Thank you with Regards