The government is looking to announce a procedure wherein the GST Council can address issues related to the indirect tax regime either suo motu or after being approached by companies or industry bodies, two people with the knowledge of the matter have said.
“There is a realisation that had a few proactive steps been taken, certain issues related to GST could have been addressed quickly. The government wants businesses to approach the GST Council rather than file writ petitions in courts,” a person in the know told ET.
“The government is looking to prescribe a procedure by which companies can directly approach the GST Council or issues can directly be identified through social media interactions,” another person close to the development said. The idea is that the GST Council could take swift action or address a problem when a number of people start complaining on Twitter, he said.
Under the new mechanism, issues which are being tweeted to government’s Twitter handles around GST would be picked up on a priority basis and resolved or clarified immediately.
“Currently, Twitter handles are managed by tech professionals who often just repeat the stated lines. But the government does come to know about the magnitude of the problem and the GST Council can intervene and take immediate action,” the person close to the development added.
At last count, about 49 writ petitions have been filed across courts in issues related to GST, of which about 16 are by businesses seeking quick resolution.
“It would be good to see the various issues raised by businesses in various courts by filing writ petitions resolved by the GST Council as approaching courts on such issues is a sub-optimal solution.
While a resolution of some of the issues raised may require legislative changes which need to be taken up at the earliest, some of the issues can also be addressed by providing clarifications to business,” said MS Mani, partner-GST, Deloitte India. In some cases, leeway could be given where a sector could be faced with an unintended consequence.
The procedure to sort out issues would be separate from the proposed advance authority for rulings, avowed both the people close to the development.
ET on October 4 reported that a few senior tax officials and corporates have urged the government to start AAR as early as possible to clear doubts on GST, as this will prevent companies and associations from approaching courts for clarity.