Mumbai – With the vision to bring as many companies as possible under the goods and services tax, the tax department of India is doing its best and is also planning to conduct searches and surveys across the country. The searches and the surveys are expected to start in the coming days with immediate effect, and the primary focus would be on checking if any company was knowingly trying to avoid the GST or if there was a genuine problem. This move comes right after the meeting of senior tax officials with the Prime Minister Narendra Singh Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

As the government’s vision has been to increase the number of registrations so that the tax base could be increased, the instructions have been that the new registrations under the GST should be increased. To honor the orders, the officials are planning to conduct a survey throughout the country and hence find out all the eligible businesses that are yet to register.

As per the information from various industry insiders, various businesses and companies in the unorganized sectors have been deliberately avoiding their existence under the GST as they fear that their past unpaid taxes would come under scrutiny. The experts overall welcomed this move regarding the push to increase the tax base, but they also warned that this aggressive movement should not lead to any harassment of people under the genuine cases.

Pratik Jain, who is a national leader- indirect tax at PwC India said that he did not see anything wrong with the searches as it is evident that the government wants to increase its customer base and they want to reduce the scenarios where people evade tax. But he also mentioned that there should be some official circular to ensure that there is no harassment at the ground level and there is a differentiation between cases where people evaded tax or companies that had genuine problems in filing the tax returns.

The tax officers would visit premises of several businesses and reportedly 200 IAS, IRS and IFS officers have been asked to keep a check on all the essential commodity prices across cities and small towns. The officials are going to the market to see if GST is being implemented as it should be in the first place. In one such incident, a cloth retailer in the NCR (National Capital Region) was reportedly fined ₹ 20,000 for selling shirts without the payment of GST on that.

Such fines are required to instill some amount of fear in people so that they comply with GST and do not try to evade tax.