Kolkata: Urging for a "friendly GST" in the New Year, the trading community in the country on Tuesday said half of the seven crore small businesses can be brought under the indirect tax regime if its procedures are made simple.
"If Goods & Services Tax (GST) procedures are made simple and traders are not unnecessarily harassed or victimised, it will inculcate confidence among the trading community about GST and more and more people will come under the formal economy," Confederation of All India Traders' (CAIT) executive core committee member and its West Bengal chapter's secretary general Raja Roy said.
"There are about 7 crore small businesses in the country and approximately half of those can be brought under GST, if it is a trader-friendly tax regime," he said.
The trading community hopes for a sustained, simplified and rationalised GST in 2019 and if focus of both the Central and state governments is on mitigating the genuine difficulties of the traders, the GST will prove to be a trader-friendly taxation system, traders said.
According to the community, traders across the country faced many difficulties including glitches in the GST portal, irrational classification of goods in different tax slabs, complicated tax procedures, non-availability of refunds from the tax authorities and complicated return forms and so on.
They, however, said the new indirect tax regime in a way was good for the traders as it provided relief from the onerous task of filing too many papers, complying various taxes, interaction with department officials and also saving them from the decade-old clutches of inspectors.
"Only 35 per cent of the trading community has computers. Low awareness about GST laws, rules and regulations among the trading community is a big challenge," Roy said.
Traders said a nationwide awareness campaign should be launched by the Government with support of trade associations from all over the country, and demanded for a GST joint committee, comprising officials and trade leaders at the district level.