Cost accountants’ body to train 15 lakh traders in GST basics over the year

Cost accountants’ body to train 15 lakh traders in GST basics over the year: The Institute of Cost Accountants of India plans to train 15 lakh traders across the..

                    Simplify tax procedures

This refers to the report “Cost accountants’ body to train 15 lakh traders in GST basics over the year” (The Hindu Business Line, March 9). The move by ICAI will be welcomed by all. To borrow a word from Amartya Sen, India has inherited a ‘despotic’ tax system from the British and we have not cared to revamp it all these years.
If someone needs a proof, do go through the hard print copies of Budget papers of central or state governments. Though thousands of copies of these documents are printed every year, most of the print copies  go direct to raddi-walahs, a few months after presentation of budgets. Very few people go through the budget papers and those who go through, focus mainly on areas of their own Interest. Of course, tax consultants  benefit from the ambiguity in provisions of law and multi-dimensional exemptions which can reduce the tax burden in many cases, considerably.
The inadequacies in the tax system and the need for and advantage of taxing the rich are debated only in class rooms. GST is likely to address some of the issues of multiple
taxation outside income tax. Think of a day when the tax payable by us is just a percentage of our income or expenditure, with a maximum of four slabs with total exemption up to a threshold level. For annual personal income the exemption limit could be Rs5 lakhs and for individual expenditure Rs1000/-.
We pay income tax at source and again pay tax on the balance received when we use the residual income to buy goods or services. Just think about this calmly. We need to debate possible options to simplify the tax system, keeping the net revenue of the government from taxes intact as money is needed for government expenditure.
Time is opportune to consider agricultural income and  income from any source coming before tax to the hands of citizens, for being taxed. Gods and organizations/institutions having income beyond a threshold level should be assessed for tax purposes.
A related issue is wealth and accumulated assets in various forms. All these idling with
individuals and institutions should be mapped and brought to the mainstream database. In addition to recovery of costs for providing security and other services, there should be clear disincentives for idle assets including uncultivated agricultural land, unused built-up areas and so on.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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