Stringent rules and regulations under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime have been causing concern to the traders of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. The traders are up in arms against the tax officials who are reportedly imposing heavy fines for not displaying GST number on their premises. Non-issuance of bills for above ₹200 worth of sales is also taken seriously by the department.
The officials are imposing a fine up to ₹25,000 for not displaying GST number and failure in issuing bills to the customers. As many as 150 notices had been reportedly served on the traders in both the districts in the last one month. The main contention of the traders is that the new rules such as display of GST number is not known to many of them since they never displayed their licenses and numbers on signboards although they kept them prominently within the premises.Srikakulam Chamber of Commerce president Andhavarapu Varaha Narasimham, general secretary Patnala Srinivasa Rao and others met GST wing head G. Rani Mohan and expressed strong objection over slapping of notices and collection of fines. “Many business persons did not know the procedures. It is unfair to impose heavy penalties on small and medium traders too,” they said.Ms. Rani Mohan clarified that the traders were being regularly informed about GST rules through trade bodies.“As far as display of GST numbers on signboards, we have given time up to November 10. But we will take action immediately if traders fail to give bills to the customers if purchase value is more than ₹200,” she said while speaking to The Hindu.
The tax officials in Vizianagaram observed that many traders were indulging in malpractices by claiming that their turnover was below ₹20 lakh per year as then GST rules would not be applicable to them.“Many retail traders are carrying goods with undervalue bills after their bulk purchase from wholesalers. But we will use different methods to know the actual transactions by verifying their bank transactions and expenditure for the maintenance of showrooms. The department will impose heavy fines if traders to try to mislead the department,” said a senior official.