‘GST Bill to be moved only after finance ministers meet’

July 25, 2016 10:29 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 03:45 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Arjun Ram Meghwal

Arjun Ram Meghwal

The Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST Bill) will be taken up in Parliament only after a meeting between the Union Finance Minister and his State counterparts scheduled for Tuesday, said Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Finance. “We have full confidence that the GST Bill will be passed,” Mr. Meghwal told the media during a seminar on Income Declaration Scheme organised by the PHD Chambers. “The State Finance Ministers are meeting the (Union) Finance Minister and after the meeting it will be put in front of Parliament,” he said.

On the Income Declaration Scheme, Rani Singh Nair, Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes, said the assertion that the 45 per cent rate in the scheme was too high was incorrect.“If honest taxpayers are paying 35 per cent and then if the government charges those who have not so far disclosed their incomes a rate lower than this, then what is the incentive for people to be honest?” Ms. Nair asked. One of the biggest fears in the scheme is that the government will target those who come forward, something various officials in the government vehemently denied time and again.

“While the government might say that it will not disclose the information, what is the guarantee that it won’t come out anyway in a leak to the media, for example?” asked Ajay Bahl, Partner, AZB & Partners.“We do not want to create an environment of fear. We used to say it orally that we won’t share the information disclosed in the scheme and that we won’t harass those declaring. Now we have given it in writing as well,” said Mr. Meghwal. “I don’t think in the history of the Income Tax Department has tax collection been stretched out over two years and that too, without interest,” Ms.Nair said, referring to the recently-announced new deadlines for the Scheme which pushes the final date for payment of the tax and fine to September 2017.

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