GST amendment Bill passed in Delhi assembly
The Delhi Assembly on Friday passed the Goods and Services (Amendment) Bill 2021, which the government claimed is aimed at smoothening the taxpaying process, strengthening accountability and minimising room for tax evasions, amid protests from the BJP legislators.
“One of the key features of this amendment is the removal of the requirement of compulsory submission of audited annual accounts and reconciliation statements for the registered taxpayers, which had earlier made traders dependent on chartered and cost accountants. Further, in case of detention, seizure of goods..., the goods can now be released on the payment of penalty, as against the earlier practice of paying up the tax too. Third, the interest charged in case of delay in filing GST was previously charged on gross amount which has now been changed retrospectively (from 1.7.2017) to the net amount,” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who tabled the Bill on Friday -- the last day of the Monsoon session of the Assembly.
When Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators in the House protested that they were not consulted about it, Sisodia said that these amendments were approved in the meeting of the GST Council, chaired by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, held in March this year.
“There have been small changes in 15 sections in the Bill, and Schedule II, paragraph 7 is being omitted from the Bill. These changes have been incurred after looking at the experiences and receiving feedback of the business people and these amendments have been approved in the 39th GST council meeting after wide deliberations,” said Sisodia.
He further said, “To stop tax evasion, the GST council has ascertained that attachment of property and bank accounts is permitted not only of the taxable person but also of the other beneficiaries. This amendment is targeted at those individuals who set up fake firms under names of other individuals and get away with claiming taxes.”
The Bill was eventually passed with a majority in the 70-member assembly which has 62 AAP legislators and eight from BJP.
Bed and breakfast
On Friday, the Delhi assembly also passed a Bill allowing registration of “bed and breakfast” establishments within 30 days, as against an earlier time frame of up to 90 days.
“In the light of the pandemic, the declining tourism sector will get a boost from these positive changes in the ‘Bed and Breakfast scheme’ of the Delhi government. Under the existing ‘Bed and Breakfast scheme’, 1,630 rooms in 347 houses are registered so far in Delhi. The registration process for any house currently takes up to 90 days under the scheme. With this Bill, we aim to reduce it to a maximum of 30 days,” said Sisodia, who tabled the Bill.
He further said, “The number (of bed and breakfast facilities) will increase once the scheme is implemented and boost tourism. House owners can now get their certificates online. There is no need to go to the government offices for this purpose.”