CHENNAI: Two years after its implementation, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime does not appear to brighten the lives of traders. The system has been penalising true taxpayers, while tax evaders thrive, claims the Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association.
A point in case is the evasion resorted by several traders who market their products as unregistered brand. For instance, under the GST system, commodities like rice, dhal, flour and millets are levied 5 per cent tax if they are registered under a brand name while tax exemption is granted if the same commodities are marketed under as unregistered brand with the declaration of the same on the packet. This has led to poor quality products flooding the market and on the flip side those marketing under a specific brand for generations find it a raw deal.
Another issue that has been raised by the associations is the tax paid by the match industry in the state. The match industry requires 21 input materials, which are sourced from the northern states. Manufacturers and traders make their payment to suppliers along with GST while the supplier in turn defaults in paying the tax to the government and many traders in TN have had to pay tax again. As a way out, the Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association has suggested that the traders could be allowed to directly pay the GST to the government instead of having it done through suppliers.
The GST regime came into force from July 1, 2017. During 2018 - 19 fiscal, the state earned a revenue of Rs. 36,330 crore through GST and it includes the State's share.
Tamil Nadu is yet to receive its share of Integrated GST to the tune of Rs. 5,454 crore from the Centre despite being among the best performing States in implementation of the new tax regime. While presenting the budget earlier this year in the Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who holds the finance portfolio, had said the delay in releasing the dues was impinging on the state's finances.