Opposition to GST from some people who don't want to pay tax, says FM

Opposition to GST from some people who don't want to pay tax, says FM

Opposition to GST from some people who don't want to pay tax, says FM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said there is no reason for unease among traders about the rollout of the Goods and Sales Tax (GST), saying a lot of opposition has come from people who do not want to pay any tax.

“Unease over the transition is natural but there is nothing to worry about. Many people think not paying tax is their fundamental right. This government refuses to buy this argument. You are using the roads and other amenities of the government... country and therefore this government does not believe in allowing not paying taxes,” Jaitley told an event hosted by India TV, a day after the GST roll out.

“Traders are not liable to pay tax. The tax ultimately is paid by the consumers. When the end consumers are ready to pay tax, why the traders are worried?” he said.

The real reason behind their worry, he said, was the fact that since the entire gamut of transactions for a business were going online, “the trade volume would eventually increase and have a significant impact on their income tax.”

The FM said, “An efficient system will help in increasing the tax base and check tax evasion.” Jaitley also dismissed concerns over multiple compliance and the documentation that the GST would increase.

“Businesses need to file only one return. They will have to file their return before 10th of every month for the transactions held in the previous month. GST will ease the process of finding defaulters,” he said, adding that businesses registering a turnover below Rs 20 lakhs are not subject to register under GST.

Jailtey also rejected the argument that though the GST was a game-changer, multiple rates under the new laxation system defeated the purpose.

Asked about criticism by Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Jaitley said he thought the argument to be immature. “Such arguments by intellectuals is bereft of any logic. These intellectuals have never seen poverty and thus do not understand,” he said.

Jaitley said the government has kept the items of daily usage under a lower tax bracket. “We could have fixed a common 15 per cent GST rate on all commodities. But it was necessary to bring down the prices of food items to help the poor,” he said.

Jaitley said the GST Council did make some mistakes while fixing rates and that some of them have already been rectified. “Yesterday, we (GST Council) rectified a mistake and the GST rate on in fertilizers was slashed to 5 per cent to benefit the farmers,” he said.

The FM criticised the absence of opposition parties, including the Congress, at the midnight launch of the historic reform. “Every Congress Chief Minister supported the GST. At the 18th GST Council meeting ahead of the launch, representatives from Congress ruled states were persent. ​The Congress party should have attended the GST midnight launch event,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley said, “The launch of GST is belated, not premature. Its has been discussed and debated for 15 long years.” Responding to a question on the criticism of the opposition parties on the 'hurried' launch, he said, “The principle of reform is that if you blink once, you can never go ahead with it.”

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