GST Council decides Feb 1 rollout of e-way bill system | LikeWike
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GST Council decides Feb 1 rollout of e-way bill system

Amid concerns over tax evasion and dip in revenue collections, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its 24th meeting on Saturday approved February 1, 2018 as the date for mandatory rollout of e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods across the country. The Council in its meeting, which was held via video conferencing, also fixed June 1 as the implementation date for a uniform nationwide e-way bill system for both inter-state and intra-state movement of goods, with states having the provision to choose their own deadlines for implementation of e-way bill for intra-state movement of goods before June 1, 2018.
Under the GST regime, the e-way bill has been proposed by the government with an aim to track both intra-state and inter-state movement of goods of value exceeding Rs 50,000 for sale beyond 10 km, with tax officials having the powers to check e-way bill at any point during the transit to check tax evasion.
“It was represented by the trade and transporters that this is causing undue hardship in the inter-state movement of goods and therefore, bringing in an early all India system of e-way bill has become a necessity. The GST Council today reviewed the progress of readiness of hardware and software required for the introduction of nationwide e-way bill system,” a finance ministry statement issued after the meeting said.
The nationwide e-way bill system will be rolled out on a trial basis by January 16, 2018 and the traders and transporters can start using this system on “a voluntary basis” from January 16, 2018, it said. The rules for the nationwide e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods on a compulsory basis will be notified with effect from February 1, 2018. “This will bring uniformity across the states for seamless inter-state movement of goods,” it said.
Delhi’s finance minister Manish Sisodia, however, objected to the e-way bill system. “Delhi govt does not support e-way bill under GST. What is the purpose of ‘one nation one tax’ if we want tax-inpectors to stop goods vehicles at every distric/state borders? It will increase Inspector Raj,” Sisodia tweeted.
In its 22nd meeting held on October 6, the GST Council had put the rollout of e-way bill in abeyance as there were concerns related to the functioning of the GST Network (GSTN) portal. The Council then was of the view that loading the portal with the additional burden of generation of the e-way bill would have been counterproductive. On October 6, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the e-way bill system shall be introduced in a staggered manner with effect from January 1 and shall be rolled out nationwide with effect from April 1 next year.
The decision for early implementation of e-way bill follows after the sharp decline in GST revenue to Rs 83,346 crore for October — the lowest since the July 1 rollout of the indirect tax — and which was also a decline of Rs 12,000 crore from the Rs 95,131 crore collected for the preceding month. The finance ministry, in a statement on November 27, had said the GST revenue in October declined as the tax compliance may not have been up to the mark on account of deferment of implementation of some of the main features of GST such as, matching of returns, e-way bill and reverse charge mechanism.
The e-way bill provisions were approved by the GST Council in its meeting on August 5 and were subsequently notified on August 30. According to the notified e-way bill rules, the permits issued would be valid for one day for movement of goods for 100 km and in the same proportion for following days. The supplier or the transporter would not be required to furnish the e-way bill in case the goods are transported for a distance of less than 10 km within the state/union territory from the place of business of the consignor to the place of business of the transporter for further transportation.
Tax and industry experts expressed concerns over the additional compliance burden which would arise on account of the rollout of e-way bill system and the readiness of the technology system for the e-way bill system. Abhishek Jain, Tax Partner, EY said, “Once implemented it would help the government to check evasion of taxes but on the flip side it would add to the compliance burden of taxpayers. Further, the government should ensure that the IT systems are completely ready before such implementation.” Pratik Jain, Leader, Indirect Tax, PwC India said, “If implementation of this system is not done properly, it could lead to significant supply chain bottlenecks and somewhat dilute the objective of ‘one nation one tax’.”

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