Govt optimistic about GST roll out from April 2016: Revenue Secretary

New Delhi: The government is confident of rolling out the much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST), which aims at creating a single tax for goods and services across the country, from April 1, 2016, a top finance ministry official said.

Revenue Secretary Shaktinkanta Das
Revenue Secretary Shaktinkanta Das

“There are process related issues which are being worked out. On the major issues, all states are on board… That’s our effort (of implementation of GST from April 1, 2016), we are optimistic about it. We are reasonably confident about it,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told PTI in an interview.

Asked about the previous UPA government’s Direct Tax Code (DTC), Das said: “All the provisions of DTC except 5-6 provisions are already part of Income Tax Act. The items which were left have been suitably addressed in this budget.”

He further said that since the GST would be implemented from the next financial year, it may not be wise to “open two fronts, DTC this side, GST that side…Completely unsettling your tax laws and making it difficult for the taxpayers”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said, had indicated in his Budget 2015-16 speech that there was no merit in going ahead with the DTC.

Meanwhile, speaking at an event organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce, the Revenue Secretary exuded confidence that the government would achieve gross revenue target of Rs 14.49 lakh crore in 2015-16, about 15.83 per cent higher than the revised estimate for current fiscal.

“We will record a growth of 16 per cent of revenue target because of various factors… Firstly, the overall tax buoyancy that is expected to rise because of increase in GDP number projected by the Finance Minister in his Budget.” Das said.

Elaborating further, he said increase in service tax from the next financial year, the restoration of normal tax rates on automobile sector and increase in excise duty of petrol and diesel from November last year would help the government in garnering more revenue.

“…All these things put together, revenue numbers are very realistic, and on the expenditure side, the Finance Minister did not hesitate in increasing fiscal deficit target for 2015-16,” Das said.

The DTC was first mooted in 2008 by previous UPA government to overhaul the five decade old Income Tax Act to facilitate voluntary tax compliance and reduce litigations.

Jaitley, while presenting the Budget 2015-16, had said the government is moving forward on various fronts to implement the GST from next year.

“GST will put in place a state-of-the-art indirect tax system by 1st April, 2016,” Jaitley had said.