As GST nears, CBEC officers get jitters about job security

New Delhi : As the deadline for implementing Goods and Service Tax (GST) across the country nears, there is growing unease among officials of the Central Board of Excise and Customs about their job security and future, according to Cogensis report.”Any change causes anxiety,” an Indian Revenue Service officer said. “If the government thought, a change as big as GST will not lead to any protests, then they are functioning in a utopian world.” The government is planning to implement GST from Apr 1, 2017. In a letter to Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs Najeeb Shah, the Association of Indian Revenue Service (CBEC) has expressed apprehension over job security, especially since the GST Council is discussing dual control over service tax assessees. There are currently about 1.1 million service tax assessees, who are directly assessed by the CBEC. “If the service tax assessees are divided between Centre and states that could mean lesser requirement for service tax officials,” another officer said. The GST Council in its last meeting decided to reconsider the earlier decision to allow Centre to have sole control over existing service tax assessees under the new tax regime. The GST Council had last month decided that the Centre will have sole control over the assessment of existing 1.1 million service tax assesses. The service tax assessees added will be divided between the Centre and states. Most states are opposed to the entire service tax vertical being solely handled by the Centre. The letter by the association, sent a fortnight ago, has also raised

worries about fully automating the GST network.”We are worried that an entirely digital system will start replacing humans,” another official said. Shah has assured the officials that their interests will be taken care of under the new indirect tax regime. “The chairman has assured to protect our interests and communicated to us in his reply that we have nothing to worry about,” the second official said. The chairman has said with GST, the tax base would only increase, which would mean work for more people. Notwithstanding the assurances, the unease is only likely to grow.

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