Mumbai: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect in the country nearly a year ago. But several indirect tax experts find that they still haven’t been approved as GST practitioners, despite having applied for registration months ago via the GST portal.
In this backdrop, the CBIC Chief /Chairperson of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs CBIC Chief Vanaja Sarna, recently wrote to officials to expedite the process. Her letter dated May 4 says, “I would urge the officials to expedite the process of approval of GST practitioners. A proactive approach in facilitating the enrolment and helping the applicants in case they have committed any bona fide mistakes while making the application will only further our cause of achieving a trade-friendly image for the department.”
Rajeev Khandelwal, chartered accountant and an indirect tax expert, says “I applied on December 7, 2017. Since the last five months, there was no news on the same and the status was shown as ‘pending for processing’ on the GST portal. Recently, I received a letter (not a digital intimation) from the department stating that, due to some problems in the GST portal, it has been decided that the GST practitioner certificates will be given manually.”
He was asked to submit documents such as educational qualifications and address proof by May 4. The letter was also dispatched by the authorities on the same date. He finds it mind boggling that he was also asked to produce a certificate or a declaration that he is a “person of sound mind”. “Will anyone admit to being of unsound mind?” he asks.
Government officials spoke to admit that there are a few conditions for being a GST practitioner: He/she must be a citizen of India, must be of sound mind, should not have been adjudged as an insolvent and should not have been convicted of an offence with imprisonment of two years or more. They agree that it is unclear who should be giving a certificate that an applicant is of sound mind (whether a recognised hospital or a professional institution, if the applicant is a member of one).