Its been four months since the online payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) was made compulsory. But commercial tax consultants across Gujarat have threatened to hold demonstrations alleging that the newly installed e-filing system is outdated.
The umbrella association of commercial tax consultants in Gujarat said since the state government had forged ties with Tata Consultancy Services, VAT officials are not considering the other better software used the world over for tax filing.
They said Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), Income Tax Department and Indian Railways ticket booking system use Apache servers, while the state government tied up TCS, which uses Microsoft servers. About 22 per cent of users have Microsoft, while 68 per cent across the world use Apache servers for such transactions, said Bhaskar Patel, vice-president of the Gujarat Tax Bar Association.
He said the existing capacity of VAT servers for e-filing of returns is 32,000 at a time. About 1,25,000 dealers file their returns in a month, while commercial Sales Tax goes up to three lakhs. But most of the returns are filed at the end of the month, while bills for the clients arrive from various sources. Usually, the last 10 days are packed. But the slow speed of the servers sometimes cause delays of up to two hours to file 1 megabyte of data, he said.
Patel and 91 other members made a representation to the authorities in this regard last week. They said the state government is trying to attract investors through the Vibrant Gujarat summits, but the government will have to pay for the delays in its own system.
Our clients cough up to Rs 1,500 as fines for not paying taxes on time. Besides they also have to pay the driver for the three to five days of detection at the check points across the state because of the delay in filing of e-returns caused by the CTD servers, he said.
On their part, CTD officials said the system needs more time and that sub-categories have been made to make the collection faster.
A senior official told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity: We are getting feedback from various traders and their auditors on a monthly basis. Their issues have been noted down. Accordingly, we have introduced sub-categories for filing e- returns for those which get delayed. After discussion with the groups, the deadline for filing e-returns have been fixed on the 10th of next month for those facing the delays.
He added: Besides, we are taking feedbacks from the system itself. E-filing of VAT was made compulsory since October, and as we get more feedback, we will accordingly incorporate the changes.
The official dismissed allegations by the Tax Bar Associations that a tie-up with TCS is causing delays.