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Most of top-level executives have positive perception of GST: Deloitte survey

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Marking the seven-year journey of GST, Deloitte India conducted the survey to capture India Inc.’s views on this transformational tax reform

New Delhi: An increasing number of C-suite executives have a positive perception of GST with many highlighting further reforms like rationalising tax rates and effective dispute resolution process as focus areas to usher in GST 2.0, a Deloitte survey said on Wednesday.

The Deloitte GST@7 survey, engaging C-suite and C-1 level executives across diverse industries through online platforms, highlights areas which have resulted in growing confidence in GST, specifically on the positive role of GST automation/ technology and consultative environment, in policy making.

Reflecting growing confidence in GST, the survey found that about 84% of respondents reported a positive perception of GST in 2024, up from 72% in 2023 and 59% in 2022.

Automation of tax compliance, including e-invoicing, continues to be voted as a top performance area. Also, enhanced and continued stakeholder consultation, leading to the issuance of clarificatory circulars/instructions was considered as a positive move in policy making.

The survey highlights the areas where more reforms are required; these include rationalising tax rates, offering an effective dispute resolution process, removing credit restrictions, adopting faceless assessments, liberalising export rules and implementing a compliance rating system.

Goods and Services Tax (GST), which subsumed 17 local taxes and levies, was rolled out on July 1, 2017.

Marking the seven-year journey of GST, Deloitte India conducted the survey to capture India Inc.’s views on this transformational tax reform.

According to the survey, 88% of the top C-suite leaders indicated areas of challenge, including aspects around audits and assessments, underscoring the need for continued simplification, technology integration and capacity building.

The survey respondents also suggested enabling effective dispute resolution mechanisms, with 91% of leaders endorsing the extension of audit timelines to address issues and improve compliance.

Additionally, more than 70% of respondents advocated for aligning pre-deposit requirements for GST appeals with the pre-GST era norms, aiming to streamline the dispute resolution processes.

Deloitte India Partner and Leader Mahesh Jaising said, “India Inc. has enhanced confidence in the workings and efficiency of the GST regime. Such positive sentiment is reflective of supply chain efficiencies, the benefits of tax, technology and continued stakeholder engagement on GST policy matters.

“The survey reveals that it is time to push for further reforms to make the regime more robust, dynamic and responsive to taxpayers’ needs. GST 2.0 should review the possibility of expanding the GST regime’s tax base, rationalising tax rates, removing ITC restrictions, further export liberalisation for services, unlocking working capital and addressing concerns related to operational areas of compliance,” Jaising said.

To support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector, the survey suggests easing GST registration by implementing streamlined processes, such as virtual verification and standard documentation across the country.

These measures can help MSMEs effectively navigate compliance challenges and contribute more robustly to India’s economic growth.

Jaising said: “78% of MSMEs have shared a positive sentiment towards GST implementation this year versus 66% in 2023… Key initiatives sought by MSMEs are paperless invoicing and that uniform registration guidelines across India will significantly ease compliance burdens.”

Deloitte India LLP conducted the GST@7 survey in May 2024, which comprised of 40 questions. The survey received 760 responses from key sectors.

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