In a significant decision on assessment of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Union Finance Ministry and the GST Council have enhanced the powers of assessment and audit of Jammu and Kashmir, giving big relief to the businessmen and traders as they would be assessed by the State tax administration in majority of cases.
A proposal to this effect was mooted by Finance Minister Dr Haseeb A Drabu before the GST Council as well as the Union Finance Ministry, which has been agreed upon.
Dr Drabu told the Excelsior that the decision was conveyed to the State Government today.
“As per the new decision, Jammu and Kashmir will have complete assessment and audit powers for assessing the businesses, which have turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore. For businesses having turnover of more than Rs 1.5 crore, the assessment powers would be in the ratio of 80:20 i.e. Jammu and Kashmir will have the powers of 80 per cent while remaining 20 per cent will be assessed by the Central authorities,’’ he said.
Dr Drabu said this has silenced the Opposition, which had charged the State Government with surrendering fiscal autonomy of the State after implementation of GST .
“Today, we have got powers, which were even more than what we had been enjoying prior to implementation of the GST,’’ the Finance Minister said and described the decision of Union Finance Ministry and GST Council as “historic’’.
He said these powers have been extended to Jammu and Kashmir only and for all other States of the country, the powers of assessment and audit have been fixed in the ratio of 50:50 i.e. their businesses would be assessed 50 per cent by the State administration and 50 per cent by the Central authorities.
“Other States don’t have even exemption up to Rs 1.5 crore turnover, which we got,’’ Dr Drabu said, adding this would benefit the businessmen and traders all over the State and their concerns over implementation of the GST have also been addressed.
He said it was major relief for all the local businesses as each assesse in Jammu and Kashmir would be assessed only by one Authority and they won’t have to jump from one Authority to another. This would save a lot of time of the traders in the State and will also put to rest the fears over dual administration by the State and the Centre, he added.
“In case of other States, there will be a dual mechanism of assessment with the Central Tax administration and the State Government sharing the assesses with a turnover of even Rs 1.5 crore,’’ he said, adding the dual mechanism of assessment would have created administrative hassles for the tax administration and businesses in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the Centre Government and the GST Council took up the issue projected before them by the Jammu and Kashmir Government repeatedly on the ground that business and trade in the State was already suffering because of militancy and other adverse conditions and the traders here deserved some relaxations.
“The issues was debated at the level of Union Finance Ministry and the GST Council, which agreed to the demands put forth by the Jammu and Kashmir Government and announced their decision,’’ sources added.