ALSO READConvergence of GST tax rates likely in coming days: Arun Jaitley GST regime: Quarterly filing of returns not workable, says Arun Jaitley GST collections top govt target, 64% file returns in July: Arun Jaitley GST roll-out: Centre expects to mop up Rs 55,000 crore by levying cess GST: Won't spring surprises in fixing rates, says Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday hinted that there was scope for fewer slabs under the goods and services tax (GST) once there is revenue buoyancy.
“We are in first two-three months (of GST implementation). We have almost by the day, space and scope for improvement. We have space for improvement and need for improvement to reduce compliance burden as far as small taxpayers are concerned,” he said.
“We have space for improvement, eventually once we become revenue neutral, to think in terms of bigger reforms such as fewer slabs, but for that we have to become revenue neutral...,” he said at an event organised .
Currently, the GST regime slots items under rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. An additional GST compensation cess is also levied on certain products.
Emphasising that indirect tax burden was borne by all sections of the society, the minister said it was always the endeavour of the government to bring down tax rates on mass consumption commodities.
“Direct tax is paid by more by the more affluent, somewhat by the others and certainly not by the weaker section but the impact of indirect tax places burden on all.
“Therefore, an effort is always as part of the fiscal policy... to ensure that the commodities which are consumed more by the common people are least taxed compared to others,” he said.
Noting that India has conventionally been a tax non- compliant society, he said when people have the right to demand development, they also have the responsibility to pay what is required for the development.
The finance minister said revenue is the lifeline of governance and all the developmental activities.
“You don't have to extort taxes from those who are not liable to pay...as tax people, you are not entitled to invite fear, you have to invite a respect that you are somebody who (wants) people to comply with national duty,” he said.
He also said there are never grey areas in taxation law and it is duty of tax officer to be firm and fair.