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Call on GST e-way bill on Saturday

Call on GST e-way bill on Saturday
Early implementation a possibility in view of slowing tax collectionsAfter reducing tax rates on over 200 items in the last meeting, the goods and services tax (GST) Council is set to meet again on Saturday to discuss early implementation of the electronic way bill, or e-way bill, from January amid slowing revenue collections.
If implemented, the move could be a setback to the industry, which has been seeking the e-way bill’s deferment, citing increased compliance burden.The meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will take place through video conferencing to discuss the advancement of the e-way bill implementation from April to January to check tax evasion, officials said. Tax collections in October touched their lowest, to Rs 83,000 crore, since the roll-out of the GST on July 1.
The e-way bill is a compliance mechanism wherein by way of a digital interface the person causing the movement of goods uploads the relevant information prior to the commencement of movement of goods and generates a bill on the GST portal. “The GST Council will meet on Saturday and discuss the implementation of the e-way bill from January onwards, as revenues seem to have come under pressure. 
There are reports of dealers avoiding the GST as there are no checks and barriers,” said an official. He added there were three months with the government to make up for revenue shortfall, making a case for tightening enforcement-related loopholes. The government had attributed the decline in revenue collections to the deferment of GST features like matching of returns, e-way bill, and reverse charge mechanism. According to sources, five states, including Karnataka, are ready with the e-way bill mechanism.
The system is being developed by the National Informatics Centre, along with the GST Network. E-way bills will help central and state tax authorities track interstate and intrastate movement of goods. Tax commissioners or an officer empowered by him will be authorised to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill or the number in physical form for all supplies. The Council had, in its October meeting, decided to put off the e-way bill issue for the time being. It had decided to put it in place in all states by March 31, 2018. But the e-way Bill has been notified.

The Business Standard, New Delhi, 15th December 2017


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