Tax officers to protest on Monday against GST Council decisions

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Tax officers and employees across the country will wear black bands at work on Monday to protest against certain decisions taken by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, the staff associations announced here.

Central Board of Excise and Customs officials’s associations in a statement on Sunday said that they would protest the erosion in central government’s authority to levy and collect taxes through this token gesture on January 30, which is officially designated as Martyr’s Day to mark the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on that day in 1948.

The members of Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers, All India Central Excise Inspectors’ Association and All India Central Excise and Service Tax Ministerial Officers Association will all participate in this protest against the GST Council’s decision on the issue of dual control for being heavily tilted in favour of the states.

Following the ninth meeting of the Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, here earlier this month, Jaitley announced that the entire taxation base is to be shared between assessment machinery of Centre and states.

“As per the understanding between the Centre and states, 90 per cent of the GST taxpayers with up to Rs 1.5 crore turnover will be assessed by states, while 10 per cent will be assessed by the central government.

“As far as those above Rs 1.5 crore turnover is concerned, the assessment will be done on a 50:50 basis between the Centre and states,” he added.

The states have been demanding exclusive control on businesses with turnover below Rs 1.5 crore (the current threshold for central excise), including the service taxpayers.

The associations of tax officials statement said: “However, in the present set of things and decisions, which has been taken in the recent meeting of the GST Council, it is felt that the basic structure of the scheme is being compromised and the same may lead to utmost chaos which may be detrimental not only to the revenue but also to the industry, trade and commerce in general.”

They said duality of control would, in turn, lead to spurt in litigation among the states, thereby increasing the load on the courts that are already burdened.

“Any decision taken in haste may lead to a situation wherein the national interest gets jeopardised and the trade and industry suffers which would not be in the interest of the nation and its economical growth,” they said.

Eight earlier meetings of the Council had failed to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and the states on the issue of “cross empowerment”, or dual control of assessees, and who will exercise control over them.

–IANS

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