A fixed line telephone and a calculator sit next to a pair of spectacles (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)  

GST Failed To Be A Seamless Digital Process, Says Amit Mitra

The Goods and Services Tax has failed at being the seamless digital process it was touted to be, according to Amit Mitra, finance minister of West Bengal.

There was absence of invoice matching, he said. This is happening because the summary form GSTR-3B is not backed by invoices, which has made the process a manual one and led to tax evasion, Mitra said.

“Hawala transactions have also increased,” he said in a live chat on Facebook today on the eve of the nationwide indirect tax rollout completing a year. This has also contributed to a 50 percent year-on-year surge in funds parked by Indians in Swiss banks in 2017, he added.

The government has decided to celebrate July 1 as the ‘GST Day’ to mark the first year of tax reform that subsumed a variety of central and state levies. GST faced compliance issues and teething problems in its first year. Since last year, businesses have been complaining of problems in matching invoices while filing GSTR-2 on the GST Network portal.

Another lesser known issue has been on the trade front, Mitra said.

Export refunds are not happening and exporters are thus under great stress...Three lakh export refunds applications are pending.
Amit Mitra, Finance Minister, West Bengal

Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had also, in an interview with BloombergQuint, voiced his concerns on GST evasion and inability to assess the input tax credit claimed by businesses.