My dear brothers and sisters of All India Federation of Tax Practitioners:
My good wishes for Holi, Ram Navami and Shivrathri. The months of March and April are the months of festivities, however, GST has made us a bonded labour.
The representations made by us and various other organisations are still under consideration with the Government. I am hopeful that the GST Council shall modify the system of filing returns and make it quarterly in place of monthly. That will go a long way in helping our members to enjoy the festivals and holidays.
At present, the system of return is such that a GST practitioner cannot think of leaving his office more than a week that too he is bound to make compliance of stipulated dates. Let us hope for the best and the decision comes in ensuing Council meeting making a change in the system of filing returns and I hope by the time this communique reaches your hand the change is already made giving desired relief to our Members and GST practitioners at large.
The Budget has been announced by the Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley on 1-2-2018. It was expected to be an election budget being the last full budget by the present Government before 2019 national elections. We have seen that the scope available with the Finance Minister was not much and that has resulted into minimal relief to the taxpayers except for the change in the rate of companies tax from 30 to 25% up to turnover of ₹ 250 crores and provision for standard deduction of ₹ 40,000/- to salaried employees there is no other considerable benefit that could be doled out to the public for attracting votes in 2019 elections.
On the contrary, the Hon’ble Finance Minister has introduced long term capital gain on sale of shares that adversely affected the stock market. It is first time such a plunge has been seen in the stock market immediately after the budget with the market dropped by about 1,000 points though it is partly attributed to international slowdown in the stock market.
Changes have also been made in the merger of companies where certain prohibitions have been introduced for taking advantage of the loss and the loss making company when it is merged with the profit making company. It seems that the basic idea of the Government is to plug the loopholes of tax evasion. The long term capital gains on stock market has also been brought to plug the method of converting unaccounted money into white money by way of fictitious long term capital gains earned through shell companies. The emphasis of the Government is on tracking the conversion of black money into disclosed money and put reins on the rampant corruption. The introduction of Section 143A in the Finance Budget is a glaring example of the same.
I may caution my friends that now only those persons will flourish into practice who had a strong support of knowledge in their tax practice. Our endeavour is to educate our fraternity and to help them achieving excellence in the profession and to develop their knowledge base to make them successful in providing good service to the client and to put themselves in the profession on strong foundation. The tax profession is one of the professions that is always likely to flourish. Whatever changes in the system of tax may be made, the importance of tax practitioners is not going to lesson or diminish but we cannot take things easy and have to strive hard to prove ourselves.
In the recent judgment of Kudrat Sandhu v. UOI Dt. 10-2-2018 the Supreme Court has directed the Government to appoint the Tribunal Members of all the Tribunals based on the rules and provisions of the old Act as an interim order which is a welcome move. The shortage of Members is being felt in all the Tribunals such as Green Tribunal, CAT and also the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The changes that are made by the Government in provisions for appointment of Tribunal Members had greatly hampered the appointment of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Members and the shortage of Members is being felt in every Tribunal including Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
We hope that Supreme Court’s verdict shall be in favour of the petitioners and old Rules for appointment of Members in the Tribunals may be finally approved by the Court that will help appointment of new, young and knowledgeable Members.
We are organising a Seminar with NEC meeting on 17th and 18th March, 2018 at Vadodara (Gujarat). I request all the Members to participate in the Seminar in large numbers so as to make it a grand success that will help in enriching our knowledge and provide strength to our ability and capability of dealing with the intricate issues.
Once again, with good wishes and best of enjoyment in the festivities of March and April.
Ganesh N. Purohit