For the first time the state government has candidly admitted that there is corruption at commercial tax department VAT checkposts. Industries minister Saurabh Dalal in an interaction with Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association (GSTBA) has appealed to traders to come forward to lodge complaints against errant officers.
"I promise you a system where you can lodge your complaints confidentially," Dalal said. Dalal promised that the commercial tax department would not ask traders to submit returns manually in just one month if they filed e-returns.
In fact, commercial tax department chief commissioner PK Pujari, present during the meet, said that registration number will be allotted to any trader as soon an e-application is filed while the verification process of confirming the trader's antecedents can continue for the next one month. "We are all for adopting the Maharashtra system of registration but we are looking into legalities," says Pujari.
Many traders from Jamnagar had said that they were given receipts 90 days after filing their VAT returns. Punjari made a note of the problem and promised a solution.
Traders, lawyers and tax consultants complained that the MICR facility for getting tax refunds was not extended to Rajkot while the rest of the state had it. Pujari admitted that he was not aware and that MICR facility would be extended immediately.
A number of representatives from 17 districts at the meet said in unison that commercial tax officers had been demanding a security deposit Rs 2 lakh for registration purposes, when the law requires just Rs 50,000.
"I am aware of this problem now. I would ensure that registration of new traders is made transparent," Dalal said. Goods and Service Tax Academy chairman DM Vasavda made an appeal to Pujari for speedy disposal of VAT appeals. "Some traders have to wait six months for a decision. This hinders their business," Vasavda said.