Following the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for goods and services tax (GST) in Rajya Sabha, the government has now outlined the roadmap for the future legislative process for the proposed GST, with an aim to pass Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST) laws in the winter sessions of Parliament and all state Assemblies, respectively.
On the administrative front, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government will complete the four-phase training schedule of over 60,000 central and state tax officials by end of December, while the IT backbone of GST, GSTN, will complete the front-end and back-end work for 17 states by December. “We hope that in the winter session of 2016, all the Bills should come before the state Assemblies and Parliament,” Adhia said during a media briefing.
Adhia ruled out dual control by Centre and states in assessment, saying there cannot be a situation where one trader receives notices from both the Centre and the state. He said the GST Council will have to work towards cross empowerment for dual control by allowing states to scrutinise both SGST and CGST filings and vice versa in any case opened for assessment. “We will have to divide the work amongst ourselves, we will have to cross empower each other … Once the case is opened for assessment, it will be dealt by only one agency,” he said. The Constitution Amendment Bill, which now will be ratified in Lok Sabha, will be followed by ratification by minimum 50 per cent of the state Assemblies. The government expects to complete this process within the next 30 days, Adhia said, adding that the Centre is looking at April 1, 2017, as the target date for implementation of the indirect tax regime.
The work on back-end systems of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and 14 states will be completed by November-end, Adhia said. The same deadline of November-end is intended for work on backend systems of Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, banks, Reserve Bank of India and state accounting authorities. The final testing and integration of GST frontend and back-end for all stakeholders will be done during January-March 2017, he added.
Decision on the structure of GST rate, calculation of revenue base of Centre and states and their corresponding compensation requirements, list of exemptions, forming consensus on model GST law and no dual control by the Centre and states are among the key challenges which have to be overcome before GST can be implemented, he said.
The training schedule for tax officials will include familiarisation with the IT system, which will also be done in four phases during December 2016-March 2017. The government has already completed the first phase of source trainer’s workshop for 25 officers. The second phase involving training of 350 officers will be done by mid-August while that for 1,000 officers by October 2016. The last leg of the training sessions of 60,000 officers will be completed by end-December.
The compensation for states will be decided after the rate is fixed by the GST Council, he added. On the issue of threshold level for imposition of GST, Adhia said, the government is in consultation with states, while a final call with regard to keeping businesses with turnover of Rs 1.5 crore out of CGST ambit will be taken by the GST Council.
For existing dealers, no fresh registration is needed as the existing VAT/service tax/Central Excise data will be migrated to the new GST system. New dealers will have to file a single online application for registration under GST. The registration number will be PAN-based, each dealer will be given unique identification number, GSTIN, he said.