West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has accused the Centre of withholding crucial information pertaining to service taxpayer base from states, highlighting yet another sign of growing trust deficit between the Union government and the states on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a letter addressed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, reviewed by Mint , Mitra argued that the service taxpayer base was 3.05 million almost thrice of the 1.1 million which the states had so far been led to believe. He argued that this has unfairly influenced discussions on the sharing administrative powers between the Centre and states, the newspaper reported Wednesday.
Mitra’s insinuations come close on the heels of crucial GST Council meeting scheduled on Thursday. The charges could cast a shadow on the meet which has been called to decide on GST rate structure and if unresolved the government may miss April 1, 2017, the deadline for GST rollout, Mint reported.
“The minutes of the 1st and the 2nd GST council meeting clearly records a tax base of around 1.1 million for service taxpayers,” Mitra wrote in a letter dated 28 October, Mint reported. He added, “Suddenly, we find that the service taxpayers number has escalated to 3.05 million out of which 2.64 million are shown as active taxpayers.”
“This implies that the service tax base has grown 3 times over 2 years. What is even more surprising is that even a month ago this fact was not told to the states,” he wrote, adding that the figures seem an afterthought, surfacing only after the issue of dual control was discussed in the last GST council meeting held on 18-19 October, according to the report.
Besides, the report mentioned that Mitra also pointed out that “the disaggregated data of value-added tax (VAT), excise and service tax base based on thresholds of Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 20 lakh had not been shared with the states so far”.
He also added that the states were likely to get the updated data on the taxpayer base only by 1 November, which left them only a day to deliberate before the GST council meeting.