The past year, and the future
By Bharat Goenka
I am writing as one of the people who have been in the ‘middle’ of this enormous tax reform – since we provide software solutions to businesses who need to comply with GST. This has given us a view on both sides of the bridge – the Government/GSTN side, and the Business/Practitioner side. The first who needs compliance, and the second, who need to comply.
Getting a country which is the size of India to do a complete transformation has been extraordinary in itself. Despite all criticism – including mine – on how it could have been better, it remains something that everyone should pat themselves and each other on the back for.
Personally, the most important take-away was the continued expression of good intent by the Government to learn and correct. And not just expression of intent, it was also executive action. Whether it was responding to pains by changing/removing rules and processes, or changing tax rates, or even specific clauses of law – they have stood by the resolve to ‘make it happen’.
Yet, the original promise of GST is expected to come alive only in the months ahead – and their remains a growing urgency for actualizing the latest decisions on this subject taken in the first few months of this year. This relates to the ‘simplification of GST’, and its cascading impact on both rules and law, so that compliance becomes easier, and evasion, more difficult.
The past year has shown that a semi-complete technical process (GSTR-1 but no GSTR-2 – for example), creates not just problems for the Government, but also the taxpayer – since there is no simple way to complete compliance. It leads to confusions of information, conflicts of information, and increases suspicion and mistrust. It penalizes the honest and rewards the dishonest.
The past year has ALSO shown, that being a Technology-First Tax System, it is far easier to detect the anomalies early rather than late, and therefore, is a strong pointer to the benefits of ‘simplification with completeness’.
All the decisions have been taken for what can be called GST 2.0! What we await is the announcements for its actualization. What we await, is the realization of the core promises of GST. What we await, is the economic acceleration that it is capable of.
(The author is Managing Director of Tally Solutions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)