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Welcome VAT reforms
February, 13th 2014

It refers to welcome initiative of Delhi government for simplifying VAT system, mainly to check evils of inspector-raaj and corruption in the system. New steps will rather give added revenue to Delhi government, apart from reducing hardships of traders. But more practical reforms are necessary. It is often seen that consumers avoid taking cash-memos/bills etc because VAT/service-tax etc is imposed as some additive on bills/cash-memos. Shopkeepers and service-providers lure people not to insist on cash-memos/bills to avoid levying of VAT/service-tax etc. This is not only a fraud on exchequer but also prevents consumers from their right of warranty-claims in case of need.

System should be that all cash-memos/ bills etc for ultimate consumers may have just one net payable price printed inclusive of all taxes including also VAT/service-tax. Traders and service-providers can be asked to deposit VAT/service-tax on basis of net payable cost received by them as printed on cash-memos/bills etc. All such measures will prevent evasion of tax resulting in extra revenue-earning both for the centre and the states. Union government should set up a committee to study local and state taxes on various commodities and to suggest common rates of VAT and other local taxes to be applicable in all states uniformly at the same rate. Meeting of all state-governments then can be convened to agree on report of the committee. This will make manufacturers to print one single net payable ‘Maximum Retail Price (MRP)’ on various commodities to be applicable throughout the country. After such reforms are implemented, Department of Consumer Affairs of Delhi government can launch a publicity-campaign to make consumers aware of their consumer-rights by insisting on cash-memos/invoices etc.

System will also save consumers from other malpractices like is being done presently by restaurants in Delhi area where they are now compulsorily charging ‘tips’ for their employees by adding ‘service-charge’ in addition to several taxes including also service-tax. Such small-small aspects usually go unnoticed by consumers, and should be taken as a fraud on consumers.

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