As GST steps into its second year, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said the consumers should start insisting on bills for every purchase of goods and services, which will in turn help in formalisation and additional revenue generation. Goyal also said that a three-digit helpline number will be started soon for consumers to complain if they are not being provided bills by traders/businesses with an aim to check evasion in the system.
The insistence on bills would help in more revenue generation under GST and provide “elbow room” to reduce rates by 4-5 per cent on every item under GST, he added. “I want to appeal that people should demand a bill whenever they go to purchase any good. If you start asking for a bill…if there’s awareness about this countrywide then we can reduce rates by 4-5 per cent for every item (under GST)…insist on a bill and if anybody says that they will sell at a lower price if you don’t demand a bill, then you should complain immediately,” Goyal said.
He said the government will maintain confidentiality of the complainant against GST evasion. “We will soon provide a 3 digit simple number which will work as a call centre where customers can complain. We will ensure full confidentially of the complainant,” he said, adding that the endeavour would be to start the helpline within 15-20 days.
Such a step would ensure that the “competition will be on quality and customer service and not on ability to cheat the system”, Goyal added. The finance minister also said that if there’s any wrongdoing or harassment, then also people should complain against both businesses and/or officials. “If someone is harassed under GST administration, if there’s any form of wrongdoing and it could be done by both businesses and officials, then consumers should reach us. Our doors are open for people, so that we can ensure neither does the business community do wrong nor does the official machinery do any wrong. That will be the true success of GST,” he said.
He further said the government wants to reduce the burden of taxation on consumers but revenue needs to increase and support of states is also needed to cut rates where it’s essential. Goyal said that in contrast to earlier tax regime, the GST has ensured that consumers now know the actual tax incidence of indirect taxes on goods. Goyal also assured small businesses if they face any trouble, then they can write to him stating their woes and it would be resolved. He said amendments would be introduced in GST law in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament to increase the threshold for composition scheme from the current Rs 1 crore.
The GST Council had last year approved to increase the annual turnover eligibility for composition scheme to Rs 2 crore from Rs 1 crore as an enabling provision, after which the eligibility will be increased to Rs 1.5 crore per annum, as approved by the Council last year.