Two days back, traders in the state were surprised to get an SMS from the Gujarat commercial tax department which urged them to be diligent and pay value added tax (Vat) in time. A few others were shocked to find email from the department which mentioned that the details given by them in Vat return is invalid or the sales registration number mentioned of dealer is invalid.
But all this and more is the new avatar of Gujarat commercial tax department which has decided to increase communication with tax payers and decrease the human interference in the tax collection process with help of technology. The modernization will help check corruption through bogus bills which was rampant in several parts of the state.
"In the last two days, we have already sent around 13,000 SMSes to our officials and tax payers. In the coming days, from new circulars to discrepancies in returns the department will increase its communication through SMS and emails," said Haribhai Patel, commissioner Gujarat commercial tax department.
In the last few months, the department has unearthed various scams where traders fraudulently claim input tax credit on bills with cancelled sales tax registration numbers. The department has also traders fraudulently taking tax credits by creating fake 'C-forms', which is to be issued by the department to the registered sales tax payer.
The department has also made the process of issuing 'C-form' completely online since August 17 and in the last 28 days, around 2 lakh such forms have been downloaded from the department's website.
"The new downloadable forms can't be duplicated as these carry digital signature, barcode and watermark. Also,once the traders file his returns the new system will automatically verify the bills submitted and alert the officials in charge if there is a discrepancy and also send an SMS to the concerned trader as per the current system," said an official.
SMSes as wake up calls
The department will send SMSes appreciating good work and reminding officials of pending jobs. The ones showing good performances will get a pat on the back and underperformers will be served wake up calls. Under the new system, officials with impressive tax collection figures will be sent an appreciatory SMS. Also those sitting on files for more than required time will be alerted about their pending jobs.