Skip to main content

GST likely to get centralised AAR for uniform rulings

GST likely to get centralised AAR for uniform rulings
India is looking at creating a centralised Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) for the goods and services tax (GST) after divergent rulings on identical issues fuelled confusion over applicability and the rate of tax. A recent case in point being the divergent rulings by Karnataka and Maharashtra AARs on the issue of solar projects. “We are looking at an issuebased central authority with officials from states and the Centre,” a top government official told ET. “If more than one appeal is filed on the same issue in different jurisdictions it can be taken up by this body.”
The AAR is a quasi-judicial body that allows assessees to get guidance on their potential tax liabilities relating to any transaction beforehand. The rulings by the AAR are case-specific, but they have a persuasive impact on tax assessment in cases of other firms under similar circumstances. This is the key reason behind the government contemplating such a move. “AAR decisions are specific to the case, but they do have some precedence value,” the official said. The previous indirect tax regime had a centralised body ensuring consistency in orders.
Government Wary of Variations
Maharashtra AAR ruled in a recent case that solar project contracts are “works contracts”, taxable at 18% as a deemed supply of service, instead of a “composite supply” that would have attracted 5%. Karnataka AAR, on the other hand, reaffirmed in a case that engineering and procurement contracts are composite contracts and taxable at a concessional rate of 5%.
The government is wary of such variation in rulings that could sow further confusion. The structure of the proposed centralised authority will be decided once a decision is taken to set it up, the official said. It may require a change in the GST laws and all the states would need to come on board.
Experts said the initial experience of the AAR mechanism in the case of GST has not been very encouraging for businesses and backed a centralised body for consistency. “On aspects like taxability of solar power plants, liquidated damages, exemption on sale by dutyfree shops at airports, etc, the authorities have taken a view which is not in line with the industry practice, globally accepted principles or government’s own intention while framing the laws,” said Pratik Jain, indirect taxes leader, PwC. “Further, there is likelihood of different states taking a divergent view on the same issue.”
Jain said there is an immediate need to have a centralised mechanism, either by changing the structure itself and bringing it at par with earlier central taxes or by building a control system under the GST Council’s aegis to ensure consistency and quality.
“Given that each AAR can potentially decide differently on an issue, it makes sense to create a central AAR which will take up issues where more than one AAR has been approached on a similar issue,” said Bipin Sapra, partner, EY. “In such a scenario, a mechanism needs to be created where all AARs should be listed on the GST portal and in case of similar applications, the state AAR should refer it to the central AAR.” India implemented GST on July 1 last year as to turn the country into a common market and erase interstate barriers.
The Economic Times, 03rd July 2018, New Delhi

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India Foreign banks are increasingly shrinking their presence in India and are also becoming more conservative than private and public sector counterparts. While many of them have sold some of their businesses in India as part of their global strategy, some are trying to keep their core expertise intact. Others are branching out to newer areas to continue business momentum.For example, HSBC and Barclays Bank in India have got out of the retail business, whereas corporate-focused Standard Chartered Bank is now trying to increase its focus on retail “Building a retail franchise is a huge exercise and takes a long time. You cannot afford to lose it,” said Shashank Joshi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ’s India head.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, foreign banks’ combined loan book shrunk nearly 10 per cent from Rs 3.78 trillion in fiscal 2015-16 to Rs 3.42 trillion last financial year. The banking industry, which includes foreign banks…

RBI rushes in to prop up falling rupee

RBI rushes in to prop up falling rupee India’s central bank reportedly intervened in the currency markets on Monday to prevent a further slide in the local unit, which breached the 67 mark to a dollar for the first time in 15 months amid a widening trade gap and runaway import bills fuelled by high crude-oil prices. Some state-owned banks were seen selling dollars aggressively, interventions that market dealers attributed to the central bank’s strategy to stem the decline of the Indian rupee against the US currency. The rupee is the worst performing among a dozen Asian monetary units in the past three months. It lost 4.25 per cent to the dollar during the period, show data from Bloomberg. On Monday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have sold about Rs 800 million collectively on the spot and exchange traded futures markets, dealers said. An email sent to RBI remained unanswered until the publication of this report. The currency market has seen such a strong central bank interven…

GST Refund of Rs 20,000 Cr Pending: Exporters’ Body

GST Refund of Rs  20,000 Cr Pending: Exporters’ Body Refund of over Rs 20,000 crore on account of Goods and Services Tax (GST) is pending with the government with more than half the amount stuck as input tax credit, Federation of Indian Export Organisations said on Tuesday. While claims over Rs7,000 crore were cleared in March, the amount was Rs 1,000 crore in April.However, after exporters’ request, the GST council and tax department are organizing a second phase of Special Refund Fortnight starting May 31, which will enable exporters to draw their refunds at a speedy pace. Many exporters have been unable to file the refund of input tax credit due to technical glitches, exports and claim happened in different months. The major challenge lies on ITC refund especially because the process is partly electronic and partly manual which is cumbersome and add to the transaction cost, the exporters’ body said. On IGST, refunds are getting delayed due to airline and shipping companies not submitt…