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Tax associations call for boycott over GST Council decisions

Tax officials protest against GST

As a mark of protest against some of the recent decisions taken by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, various associations of indirect tax officers have called for a boycott of celebrations of International Customs Day to be held on Friday.

Terming it as a non-cooperation movement against the decisions taken by GST Council, the officials will also observe ‘black day’ by wearing black badges on Martyrs’ Day on January 30.

The associations are of the view that the decision to give control over 90 per cent of the tax assessees below the annual turnover threshold of Rs 1.5 crore will lead to complete depletion of taxpayer base. They also said that cross empowerment to states in the administration of Integrated GST (IGST) negates the Constitutional mandate of inter-state commerce as affirmed by law ministry.

The associations said that their members are “highly disappointed” and feel “cheated” over the decisions taken by finance minister Arun Jaitley-led GST Council in its meeting on January 16.

“The above have led to a sense of frustration and demoralisation in the Executive Cadres. It is still not clear whether the Union government is right in negating the constitutionally mandated scheme of things in pursuit of One Nation-One Tax. The members feel that GST in the proposed form can easily be legally challenged,” R Chandramouli, president, All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers said.

The Council in its 9th meeting had last week agreed to give taxation powers to states for economic activity within 12 nautical miles of territorial waters and rights of audit and scrutiny for 90 per cent of the taxpayers below the threshold of annual turnover of Rs 1.5 crore. For above Rs 1.5 crore, the division of tax assessees would be equal between states and the Centre.

“We feel that the biggest tax reform should have been in conformity with the principles of responsibility and authority going together and also in conformity with the Constitutional design. We feel that the decision shall weaken the Centre’s ability to ensure its revenues. It will adversely affect the career of revenue officers. We oppose the decisions taken by GST Council and requests for deferment and review …,” as per the minutes of meeting of steering committee of associations representing Group A, B and C employees of CBEC.

The decision came after a meeting of representatives of IRS (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, comprising 70,000 personnel, office bearers said.

Source : The Indian Express

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