The Confederation of West Bengal Trade Association (CWBTA), the apex body of traders in the state, has demanded an audit of the GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network) portal by a committee comprising IT professionals, taxpayers, and government officials. It has also urged the Centre to review interest and penal provisions in the post-COVID era. In an open letter, CWBTA has pointed out that due to the increased number of complicated returns with repeated amendments, traders take help from professionals by spending more money and time. According to the trade body, three years ago, the main purpose of introducing GST was to take VAT, CST, Excise and Service Tax, and others under one umbrella.
“Initially, all industries and trade as well as the commercial tax authorities, accepted that it was being introduced half-baked and during the course of time, it would be in proper shape. But notifications after notifications pointed out that GST still has not yet achieved its proper shape and compliance-friendly nature,” it added. Elaborating some adverse features arising out of continued changes, CWBTA stated that the facility of revising returns in the earlier regime used to easily iron out figures/presentation to the convenience of both sides of the law. Not providing any revision facility of 3B is the biggest problem faced by the traders. Besides, it feels that formats of annual returns, even after three years of work to ease them, should be more simplified.
CWBTA president Sushil Poddar said that the problem with GSTN continues. “Even though it is an accepted fact that the introduction of GST was on trial and informative stage, charging late fees is not rational. No consideration is being made on this. Interest charge, even for the amount deposited in the bank, is uncalled for,” he added. Poddar also wanted to draw the attention of the Centre to the fact that the transfer of credit from VAT to GST is yet to be allowed to many. “Funds are blocked since a refund of excess credit takes a very long time despite compliance of cumbersome procedural work. There is no ease-of-doing-business. On the third anniversary of GST, we wish and pray for its improved health and offer all possible cooperation to the tax department,” he added.