COIMBATORE: The long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the whole country came into force on Saturday, but the first day under the new tax regime was marked by much anxiety among traders, industrialists, tax officials and the general public in the Coimbatore region.
There was also much confusion and some anger. Traders and industrialists faced technical problems. Many customers became angry when bills, especially at restaurants, were higher than usual. Prices of several consumer products were also higher.
However, Coimbatore ‘GST commissioner’ N J Kumaresh advised people not to worry. “Consumers need not worry about increases in the price of some products. The GST Council will consider such problems soon and reduce the tax rates on products if they affect the common people,” he said at the inaugural function at the Central GST Office here, till now known as the Commissionerate of Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs.
Indeed, many people, from all sections of society, are for GST, but they want the government to consider the feedback from the public after it is implemented and reduce the tax rates which raise prices of essential goods. “The government has ordered that GST need not be enforced for the first three months. Help desks have been opened in various places to ensure that all the tax payers start working under the GST scheme. The officials will be very friendly.”
Six check posts under the Commercial Tax Department were closed on Friday. “We have removed all the check posts and kept flex boards on the roadside to inform people about it,” said Commercial Tax Department Joint Commissioner (Enforcement) S P Amrith.
In Erode, traders dealing with small and micro units have decided to use the provision of annual turnout of less than `20 lakh, which is exempted from the GST, said the trade and industry federation functionaries on condition of anonymity.
As per GST norms, one can register under GST or seek exemption from it within a month, so that those who hurriedly registered under the regimen would be exempted after they claim their annual turnover to be less than `20 lakh.