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Tiruchi traders stick posters against ‘test purchase’ under GST

Tiruchi, January 10, 2023

The Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu on Tuesday stuck posters in front of shops at Vellamandi in the city to register their protest against the practice of ‘Test Purchase’ under GST carried out by officials of Commercial Taxes Department.

Small-time traders have been complaining that they bear the brunt of the practice of officials conducting surprise visits and demanding bills for purchases made by them.

Citing Section 168 of the TNGST Act, 2017, to ensure compliance with Section 31 that mandates the issuance of tax invoice or a bill of supply for every supply of goods or services or both, the field officers of Intelligence Wing levy fines up to ₹20,000.

“The officials making test purchases seemingly choose to ignore the GST exemption for traders whose annual turnover is below ₹20 lakh. The apparent leniency of the officials of Commercial Taxes department towards large-scale establishments is what aggravates the consternation among this section of traders,” V. Sridhar, district unit president of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu, said.

During November and the start of December, the department had reportedly conducted test purchase at about 165 outlets following the issuance of guidelines, under sub-section 12 of Section 67 of TNGST Act, 2017. Officials of the Commercial Taxes Department went about checking issuance of tax invoice or bills of supply through test purchases.

Citing the Standard Operating Procedure, the traders, on their part, argue that test purchase should be done only on rare occasions, where there was a strong proof for evasion of tax. The contention of the traders is that the very practice of test purchase was unjustified as they were already paying taxes for their original purchases.

After a lull in the test purchase, the department again carried it out in over 30 shops, triggering the protests on Tuesday.

“We do not intend to adopt a confrontationist posture, and are anticipating a positive intervention from the government’s side,” Mr. Sridhar said.

The least we expect is that the commercial tax officials must inspect the shops with proper orders, and desist from disturbing traders who do not come in the ambit of GST, he said.

[The Hindu]

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