No tax officer has been authorised to visit premises of traders and shopkeepers without prior permission and any deviation should be reported to a complaint helpline, the government today said. The finance ministry came out with a clarification after reports suggested that some unscrupulous elements posing as GST officers have tried to fleece shopkeepers and customers in the name of GST.
The chief commissioner of GST (Delhi zone) has clarified that the tax department only wants to facilitate the process for shopkeepers and traders during the transition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
“No officer of the Department is authorised to visit the premises of traders and shopkeepers without authorisation,” the ministry made it clear in a statement.
It also asked anyone facing any such problem to lodge a complaint on tax department’s phone line, 011-23370115. Separately, Finance Minister Arun Jaitleylaunched a mobile app ‘GST Rates Finder’. The app, available on the Androidplatform, helps users find out rates of GST for various goods and services. It can be downloaded on any smartphone and can work in offline mode as well, once downloaded.
“The user can determine the GST rate for a goods or a service by entering the name or the chapter heading of the commodity or service. The search result will list all the goods and services containing the name which is typed in the search box,” the ministry statement added.
The user can scroll down the list of description and when any specific item on the list is clicked, the display window pops up, containing details such as GST rate, description of goods or services and the chapter heading of the Harmonised System of Nomenclature (HSN).
For example, any person who has been billed by a hotel or a restaurant or for footwear purchase can cross-verify the correctness of the rate of GST charged. Also, the GST rate finder has been provided on the portal of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). At the portal, a taxpayer can search for applicable CGST, SGST, UTGST rate and the Compensation Cess on a particular supply. The search can be made based on the description of goods or services or HSN Code or heading number.
“These initiatives are aimed to serve as a ready reckoner on GST rates. This will empower not only taxpayers, but every citizen of the nation to ascertain the correct GST rate on goods and services,” the statement read.