Jaitley hopes to resolve dual control issue in next GST Council meet


New Delhi, Jan 4: Admitting that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council was racing against time on the government’s implementation target of April 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said it is hoping to resolve the vexed issues of Integrated GST (iGST) and dual control over assessees in its next meeting on January 16.

“We know the difficulties, we are moving against time. Dual control is a complex issue. We started a discussion that was inconclusive. We have decided to meet on January 16 to untie the knots in this issue,” Jaitley told reporters here after the two-day GST Council meet.

“We will be meeting to conclude the discussion on the gaps in draft laws. The gaps are on two issues. The first pertains to the definition of the word territory (in iGST) and the second is on dual control and cross empowerment,” he said.

Even after eight meetings of the GST Council, the deadlock continues between the Centre and the states on the vexed issue of “cross empowerment”, or dual control of assessees. The question of who will exercise control over GST assessees – the Centre or the states – remains critical.

The states want exclusive control of businesses with a turnover below Rs 1.5 crore (the current threshold for central excise), including the service taxpayers.

The impact of demonetization on states’ tax revenues was brought up at the GST Council meeting and Jaitley said that the states presented their estimates of December revenue figures based on collections made in November, the month of the demonetization announcement.

“A number of state finance ministers gave details of how revenue has actually increased in their states during this period. We’ve asked for detailed data in this regard,” Jaitley said.

To a query on the impact of the November 8 demonetization of high-value currency, Jaitley said that excepting the next quarter of the fiscal, the demonetisation-led process of “integrating the informal economy into the formal one” will actually result in higher revenues.

“My assessment is that with the integration of the informal into the larger economy, the revenue of states, unless very badly administered, will increase,” the union Finance Minister said.

“We will end this year with higher revenues…in both direct and indirect taxes we’ll exceed the budget estimates,” he added.


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